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body image adaptation, body image change, body image disturbance, grounded theory



  1. Norris, Joan RN, PhD, FAAN
  2. Kunes-Connell, Mary RN, PhD
  3. Stockard Spelic, Stephanie RN, MSN


Several cross-sectional, qualitative studies suggest that physical alterations in appearance or functioning have the potential to influence self-esteem. There have been no studies describing the process of adapting to body image disruption. A grounded theory or reimaging is proposed, based on the experiences of 28 participants who had experienced significant weight change, loss or paralysis of body parts, ostomies, scarring from burns or trauma, or surgical reconstruction. Participants were interviewed at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months following the physical alteration. Three phases, action processes, influencing factors, and outcomes, of reimaging are described.