Body Image Disorder

Body Image Disorder

Introduction to Nursing Diagnosis – Body Image Disorder

Body image disorders are conditions characterized by a person having a distorted view of their body. People affected by this disorder tend to evaluate their own physical appearance negatively, believing that they look worse than they actually do. This can lead to various emotional and behavioral problems such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. According to the NANDA nursing diagnosis system, body image disorder is an important nursing diagnosis to consider when assessing a patient’s health and wellbeing.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Body image disorder is defined by the NANDA nursing diagnoses system as “the disturbance in perception of the shape or size of one’s own body”. The diagnosis is further classified under the domain ‘Psychological’, with associated code “003”.

Defining Characteristics


  • Expressions of dissatisfaction with body features and shape
  • Feelings of unworthiness based on physical appearance
  • Obsession with weight
  • Excessive attention to certain aspects of physical appearance
  • Bodily preoccupation


  • Frequent changes in posture or clothing to hide or draw attention to body parts
  • Reluctance to expose body parts due to fear of judgment
  • Sedentary lifestyle or excessive exercise to change physical appearance
  • Frequent checking of body parts in mirrors or avoidance of mirrors

Related Factors/Risk Population/Associated Problems

  • Ineffective Coping – stressors occurring which exceed available coping strategies resulting in a person feeling out of control and unable to respond to changes
  • Societal Norms – beauty standards imposed by society can affect individuals and create feelings of inadequacy
  • Ageism – body image can be affected by a persons age and any age related changes they may be going through
  • Eating Disorders – individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia often have distorted views of their bodies which leads to negative thoughts and behaviors
  • Depression or Anxiety – individuals with depression or anxiety may find it difficult to maintain a healthy outlook on their body

Suggestions of Use/Usage Tips

  • Screen individuals for any risk factors which may affect their body image, such as ageism, gender discrimination, etc.
  • Educate individuals on beauty standards and help to promote realistic expectations of themselves
  • Encourage regular physical activities and healthy lifestyle choices to reinforce positive self-image
  • Refer clients to mental health services if needed

Suggested Alternative NANDA Nursing Diagnoses

  • Self-Care Deficit: bathing/hygiene
  • Risk for Social Isolation
  • Powerlessness
  • Disturbed Thought Processes
  • Impaired Comfort

NOC Results & NIC Interventions

  • NOC Outcome: Demonstrates Positive Body Image – patient is able to view his/her body in a more positive manner
  • NIC Intervention: Self-care Assistance – assist the patient with tasks related to self-care such as grooming and dressing
  • NOC Outcome: Increased Social Interactions – patient is able to engage in meaningful social exchanges with others
  • NIC Intervention: Socialization Technique Instruction – provides instruction and guidance to the patient in regards to engaging in meaningful conversations and interacting positively with others

Conclusion & FAQs

Body image disorder is a serious issue that many people struggle with. It can cause distress and interfere with a person’s ability to function in everyday life. As nurses, it is important to assess patients for body image disorder and provide appropriate interventions to help them cope with their condition. It is also important to educate individuals on realistic beauty standards and encourage positive self-image. Finally, be sure to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.


  • What signs should I look for when screening for body image disorder?
  • What interventions can I use to help those with body image disorder?
  • How can I educate my patients on realistic beauty standards?
  • What types of collaborations are best for treating body image disorder?

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