Supporting patients with body dissatisfaction: a survey of the experiences and training needs of european multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals

Heidi Williamson, Paolo Antonelli, Åsa Bringsén, Gareth Davies, Davide Déttore, Diana Harcourt, Gita Hedin, Arnoldas Jurgutis, Faustas Stepukonis, Umit Tural, Ayse Dilara Yalcin, Martin Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Appearance-related concerns resulting from disfigurement or pressure to conform to beauty ideals, indiscriminately affect patients’ mental and physical health. Healthcare professionals face the challenge of addressing patients’ support needs. Therefore a European University Consortium developed a course to address learning needs. Prior to its design, a study with multi-disciplinary European healthcare professionals was conducted to maximize its relevance and acceptability. Healthcare professionals (n = 718; 48% nurses, 30% doctors, 22% allied health professionals) were surveyed regarding the nature and impact of patients’ appearance concerns, confidence in key areas associated with detecting/addressing concerns, and training/educational needs. Participants reported that this subject is highly relevant and 70% described the psychosocial impact of appearance concerns across the lifespan resulting from disfiguring conditions, disability, neurological disease, ageing and weight/shape dissatisfaction. Participants, irrespective of their experience, self-reported inadequate knowledge regarding appearance-specific care, 87% requested further information and 70% wanted access to an accredited course; barriers deterring participation in training were identified. Healthcare professionals across multiple specialties are caring for patients with a wide-range of appearance concerns that impact on physical and mental health and want to increase their appearance-specific knowledge and expertise. Results have informed training/courses which have the potential to improve patient care and ameliorate health-related outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages5
JournalNursingPlus Open
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology (30302)


  • Appearance
  • Body image
  • Disfigurement
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Training needs


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