A body image scale is part of a psychological test used in measuring body image. A patient is asked to rate his or her satisfaction with certain aspects of his or her body’s appearance. Results from these sorts of questions can be used to evaluate a patient for mental issues stemming from dissatisfaction with physical appearance. In some cases, the ways in which patients understand their bodies may provide clues about psychological or physiological conditions. This type of survey is also very commonly used with patients who have undergone major operations and who are apt to have difficulties adjusting to the altered appearance of their bodies.
The specific questions used to place a patient somewhere on a body image scale vary widely depending on the target audience for the survey questions. Children are often rated on their body image as a way to assess self esteem but are asked a relatively limited series of questions, as many body image issues are related to attraction and not relevant for children. Body image and sexual identity are typically closely interconnected in adults, and many types of body image scales work to assess self-perceptions about sexual attractiveness and gender identity.
Many different disorders can be diagnosed with the help of a body image scale. Eating disorders and self-esteem issues are commonly linked to self perception, and a body image scale can be useful in spotting them. In some cases, an individual may be perfectly healthy but still have a poor body image, and may require body image therapy in order to come to terms with his or her appearance. Some physical conditions may be linked to body image issues as well and may stem from a breakdown in the brain’s ability to accurately assess the body’s condition.
Men and women who undergo major surgery often need to come to terms with substantial physical changes. A body image scale can be used to assess the impact of such changes on a person’s psychological health. Breast cancer patients, for instance, are often assessed using questions based on a body image scale. This type of surgery often has a negative impact on self-perception of attractiveness and femininity, but this impact can be minimized through cosmetic procedures or counseling, so long as it is identified correctly. Any patients who undergo major and unintended physical changes may experience problems related to body image and are also candidates for assessment using a body image scale.