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Appearance concerns in ophthalmic patients

James, H., Jenkinson, E., Harrad, R. , Ezra, D. G. & Newman, S. P. (2011). Appearance concerns in ophthalmic patients. Eye, 25(8), pp. 1039-1044. doi: 10.1038/eye.2011.116


Aims: This study aimed to determine the psychosocial and appearance-related concerns of a sample of ophthalmic patients by measuring a range of psychological, social, and demographic factors.

Methods: Standardized psychological measures including anxiety, depression, appearance-related distress, self-discrepancy, appearance salience and valence were administered to 98 participants attending ophthalmic outpatient clinics in either London, Bristol, Sheffield or Bradford. Differences between groups were explored using t-tests and ANOVA, relationships between all variables were investigated using Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Results: Although mean scores for psychological adjustment were within the normal range, some participants were experiencing considerable levels of generalized anxiety. Being older, male, and married or living with a partner was related to significantly better adjustment. Better adjustment was also related to a less visible area of concern, greater disguisability of the affected area, a more positive evaluation of their own appearance, less engagement in comparing themselves with others, greater feelings of being accepted by others, appearance being less important to their self-concept, and a smaller discrepancy between the persons ideal and actual appearance.

Conclusions: A majority of ophthalmic patients adjust positively to the demands placed on them. By identifying the variables that are associated with successful adaptation, the specific psychological interventions and appropriate systems of support can be put in place to help those who are adversely affected.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Nature Publishing Group 2011
Publisher Keywords: disfigurement; psychological distress; outpatients
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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