The current study used qualitative methodology to investigate the body image concerns of people with physical disabilities. Three males and four females aged between 22 and 50 years, in Melbourne, Australia, participated in the study. Three participants were heterosexual, two were homosexual and two described their sexual identity as predominantly heterosexual but ‘bicurious’. The data were gathered through individual interviews of approximately 2 h duration, where participants responded to a set of predetermined open-ended questions. The study found that bodily impairment had a negative influence on the participants’ psychological experiences, feelings and attitudes toward their own bodies. The impact of feedback from the social environment was highlighted, and there was evidence suggesting that individuals gradually adjust to their different bodies and increasingly accept their disabilities over time.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology