A systematic review of self-help for disfigurement: effectiveness, usability, and acceptability

Body Image. 2013 Sep;10(4):442-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Aug 17.


Self-help has been found to be efficacious in treating mood disorders, however, little is known about its use, effectiveness, or user satisfaction, in reducing distress associated with disfigurement. This review describes the content and focus of self-help interventions available in this area. A systematic search and appraisal protocol facilitated identification of studies, extraction of data, and appraisal of quality. Clinical trials were included if the primary method of intervention delivery was via self-help. Other types of study were included if they investigated user perspectives of a self-help intervention. Eleven studies covering a range of populations met the inclusion criteria. There is tentative support for the use of self-help to manage anxiety associated with disfigurement but little is known about the management of other psychosocial difficulties. Further research and intervention development is required to examine the effectiveness, acceptability, and utility of self-help in managing the appearance related distress associated with disfigurement.

Keywords: Adjustment; Bibliotherapy; Body image; Disfigurement; Self-help; Visible differences.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / complications
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*