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Body image concerns and psychological wellbeing among injured combat veterans with scars and limb loss: A review of the literature

Keeling, Mary; Williamson, Heidi; Williams, Victoria; Kiff, James; Harcourt, Diana

Authors

Mary Keeling Mary.Keeling@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Research Fellow in visible difference and military conflict research

Victoria Williams Victoria10.Williams@uwe.ac.uk
Research Associate: Visible Difference as a result of military conflict

James Kiff James.Kiff@uwe.ac.uk
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS HSS

Diana Harcourt Diana2.Harcourt@uwe.ac.uk
Professor in Appearance & Health Psychology Research



Abstract

A narrative literature review aimed to determine the nature and prevalence of body image and psychosocial concerns and associated support needs among veterans with combat-related appearance-altering injuries. A systematic approach to a narrative review included searching published and grey literature between September 2018 and January 2019 and again in November 2019. Four hundred and twenty-seven papers were retrieved and judged against the eligibility criteria. Four papers were considered eligible and relevant and included in the review. Limited research investigating body image and psychosocial concerns among combat veterans with an altered appearance exists. The four papers indicate that combat injured veterans may experience body image distress and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social anxiety. Military culture may enable resilience. Additional research is required to determine the scope and nature of the psychosocial impact of appearance-altering injuries among combat injured veterans. Further research should identify support gaps and inform the development of evidence-based interventions where needed.

Journal Article Type Review
Journal Military Behavioral Health
Print ISSN 2163-5781
Electronic ISSN 2163-5803
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Keeling, M., Williamson, H., Williams, V., Kiff, J., & Harcourt, D. (in press). Body image concerns and psychological wellbeing among injured combat veterans with scars and limb loss: A review of the literature. Military Behavioral Health, https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2020.1792013
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2020.1792013
Keywords Body image; military veterans; combat veterans; combat injury; burns; limb loss; scars; physical scarring; disfigurement; resilience
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