Body Image and Noticeable Self-Inflicted Scars


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Abstract

Scars from burn injuries have a negative influence on body image. Patients with borderline symptoms with nonsuicidal self-injuries (NSSIs), which often result in scars, report body image disturbances. We study whether the origin and characteristics of scars are associated with body image. Altogether, 125 female participants (n = 65 with NSSI) filled in multidimensional body image questionnaires. The participants with NSSI reported a significantly more negative body image on most subscales compared with the participants with scars of other origins. This result remained significant after partialling out scar characteristics from regression equations. On a scale assessing body image after injuries, a significant correlation with origin of scars was found after additionally partialling out body mass index and borderline symptoms. These results indicate that self-inflicted scars may adversely affect body image. Addressing NSSI, which is relevant in a multitude of disorders, early in treatment might help to reduce the extent of scarification and therefore reduce the disturbance of body image.

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