Many health conditions impact upon an individual’s appearance and result in an altered appearance (“visible difference”). The presence of visible difference is associated with a variety of psychosocial difficulties and challenges, yet calls for an integrated theory of adjustment remain largely unanswered. This qualitative research, conducted in the United Kingdom, drew upon 22 interviews conducted with participants who had a variety of visible differences. It examined their experiences and reflections related to their difference and the impact that their visible difference had upon their lives. A thematic analysis produced two themes. The first of which was predominantly concerned with the impact of visible difference upon the individual whilst the second captured the inherently social nature of appearance and appearance based judgements. The analysis is considered in light of the contention that an integrated theory of adjustment to visible difference is required and participants’ experiences with healthcare professionals and the implications for those providing care are introduced.
Sharratt, N. D., Jenkinson, E., Moss, T., Clarke, A., & Rumsey, N. (2019). Experiences of living with visible difference: Individual and social reflections. Health Psychology Update, 28(2),