Body image and transsexualism

Psychopathology. 2008;41(2):96-100. doi: 10.1159/000111554. Epub 2007 Nov 23.


Background: To achieve a detailed view of the body image of transsexual patients, an assessment of perception, attitudes and experiences about one's own body is necessary. To date, research on the body image of transsexual patients has mostly covered body dissatisfaction with respect to body perception.

Sampling and methods: We investigated 23 preoperative (16 male-to-female and 7 female-to-male transsexual patients) and 22 postoperative (14 male-to-female and 8 female-to-male) transsexual patients using a validated psychological measure for body image variables.

Results: We found that preoperative transsexual patients were insecure and felt unattractive because of concerns about their body image. However, postoperative transsexual patients scored high on attractiveness and self-confidence. Furthermore, postoperative transsexual patients showed low scores for insecurity and concerns about their body.

Conclusions: Our results indicate an improvement of body image concerns for transsexual patients following standards of care for gender identity disorder. Follow-up studies are recommended to confirm the assumed positive outcome of standards of care on body image.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transsexualism / psychology*
  • Transsexualism / surgery*