We live in a society in which messages associating physical attractiveness with success and happiness are pervasive. There is an epidemic of appearance concerns amongst teenagers and adults in westernised countries and body image dissatisfaction is now considered normative. Large numbers of people experience negative impacts on wellbeing and, for many adolescents, adults, and even children, appearance concerns are influential in choices about a range of health
behaviours. The challenges facing them include difficulties with social encounters and the problem of having to cope with negative self perceptions.
The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance is a comprehensive reference text written by experts in the field. It examines how people feel about the way they look, and why it is that some people are happy with their appearance whilst increasing numbers are troubled by the way they look - reporting that these appearance-related concerns affect many aspects of their lives including relationships, health and well-being. It considers the influence of other people and how the media
affects thoughts and behaviours related to appearance. It explores the experiences of people living with a disfigurement in a society that seems to be increasingly focussed on appearance and the pursuit of an idealised image of beauty, size and weight.
Exploring a topic that has been often neglected in the psychological literature, this book will be invaluable for health, clinical, and social psychologists, health professionals working with patients with visible differences, and those in the field of public health and education.
Nichola Rumsey, VTCT Professor of Appearance Psychology, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, Diana Harcourt, Reader in Health Psychology, Centre for Appearance Research, University West England, Bristol, UK
Introduction ; SETTING THE SCENE ; 1. Overview ; 2. Appearance and Society ; 3. Embodiment and Appearance ; 4. Cross-cultural Differences ; 5. Challenges in Health Care Provision in the UK ; 6. Challenges in Health Care Provision in the USA ; 7. Challenges in Health Care Provision in Resource-Poor Countries ; 8. A Sociological Perspective in Biomedical Technologies and Appearance ; 9. Researching Appearance: Models, Theories, and Frameworks ; WHO IS AFFECTED BY APPEARANCE CONCERNS, IN WHAT WAY, AND WHY? ; 11. Overview ; ACROSS THE LIFESPAN ; 12. Appearance in Childhood and Adolescence ; 13. Appearance in Adulthood ; 14. Appearance in Later Life ; INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN ADJUSTMENT AND DISTRESS ; 15. Gender ; 16. Lesbian, Gay and Bisexualities, Appearance and Body Image ; 17. Culture and Ethnicity ; 18. Influence of the Media ; 20. Influence of Peers ; 21. Adult Psychosocial Adjustment to Visible Differences: Physical and Psychological Predictors of Variation ; CONSEQUENCES OF APPEARANCE CONCERNS ; 23. Understanding the Too Fat Body and the Too Thin Body: A Critical Psychological Perspective ; 24. Appearance Concerns, Dietary Restriction and Disordered Eating ; 25. Cosmetic Procedures ; EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE A VISIBLE DIFFERENCE ; 26. Congenital Conditions ; 27. Trauma - with special reference to burn injury ; 28. Visible Difference Associated with Disease: Skin conditions ; 29. When Treatment Affects Appearance ; 30. Summary and Synthesis ; WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE AND HOW CAN CHANGE BE ACHIEVED ; 31. Section Overview ; SOCIETAL INTERVENTIONS ; 32. Role of the Media ; 33. Persuading the Public: New face values for the 21st Century ; 34. Changing Provision of Healthcare Settings in the United Kingdom ; 35. Interventions for Families and Healthcare Professionals ; 36. Regulation of Cosmetic Surgery ; INTERVENTIONS AT AN INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP LEVEL ; 37. School Based Interventions to Promote Positive Body Image and the Acceptance of Diversity in Appearance ; 38. Therapeutic Interventions: Evidence of effectiveness ; 39. Computer Based Psychosocial Interventions ; 40. Using Appearance Concerns to Promote Health ; 41. Summary and Synthesis ; RESEARCH ISSUES ; 42. Overview ; 43. Methodological Issues in the Study of Body Image and Appearance ; 44. Using Retrospective Approaches in the Study of Disfigurement ; 45. Mixed Methods: The best of both worlds? ; 46. Methodological Choices (Online research) ; 47. Using Novel Methods in Appearance Research ; 48. Promoting Participant Voices in Research ; 49. Summary and Synthesis ; THE PSYCHOLOGY OF APPEARANCE ; 50. The Future ; INDEX