A pilot study examining correlates of body image among women living with SCI
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STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional pilot study. OBJECTIVES: To explore correlates of body image among women with spinal cord injury (SCI), within the framework of Cash's cognitive behavioral model of body image. SETTING: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. METHODS: Women with SCI (N=11, 64% with tetraplegia) reported their functional and appearance body image (Adult Body Satisfaction Questionnaire). A 3-day recall of leisure time physical activity (LTPA), three measures of body composition (that is, weight, waist circumference, body fat) and several demographic variables were assessed as potential correlates. RESULTS: Appearance satisfaction was negatively correlated with all three measures of body composition and positively correlated with years postinjury. Functional satisfaction was positively correlated with years postinjury, and negatively correlated with various LTPA variables. CONCLUSION: Functional and appearance body image may improve with time following SCI. Body composition may impact satisfaction with physical appearance for some women. The negative relationship between LTPA and functional satisfaction merits further examination, as functional dissatisfaction may motivate individuals to engage in certain types and intensities of LTPA. Correlates of body image differ between appearance and functional satisfaction. Future research should examine appearance and functional satisfaction separately among women with SCI.
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