Disturbed Body Image Nursing Diagnosis and Nursing Care Plan

Last updated on May 11th, 2022 at 09:30 am

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plans Diagnosis and Interventions

Disturbed Body Image NCLEX Review and Nursing Care Plans

Body image is simply defined as a perception of oneself, or the change of his/her view towards self, which may impel a person to retain or alter his or her body part. Individuals with a risk for disturbed body image affects how they feel about themselves and similarly, affect external presentation and expression. They may be prone to modification, which may include altering behaviors to manage his/her appearance, also known as appearance management.

As a person builds his or her impression on body attractiveness, desirability, acceptability, and health, there is a tendency to comply with the societal norm. This eventually affects impression of oneself—and this would prevail throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Causes of a Risk in Disturbed Body Image

The external environment considerably influences an individual’s perception and view. Depending on the provisional conception, its cause may depend on these primary standards:

  • Physical aberration
  • Biological aberration
  • Negative societal influence or the desire to conform to society’s standards
  • Peer pressure

There are several factors that may affect an individual’s body image. And these include:

  • Permanent modification or change of body part (e.g., amputation)
  • Eating disorder
  • Irreversible physical/mechanical trauma
  • Surgery
  • Attached tubes, surgical drains, and appliance
  • Obesity
  • Excessive weight loss

Signs and Symptoms of Risk for Disturbed Body Image

  • Refusal to socialize
  • Withdrawal behavior, failure to function normally in the society
  • Obsessing over altering a body part
  • Expression about the desire to alter body or its function
  • Unwillingness to look, feel, touch, or tend for modified body part
  • Concealing or covering body part

Individuals who may be prone or at risk for a disturbed body image are likely to develop the following mental health problems:

  • Mood affective disorders
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Diagnosis

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plan 1

Eating disorders (e.g., Bulimia nervosa, Anorexia nervosa)

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Disturbed Body Image related to lack of nutritional intake secondary to eating disorders, as evidenced by a decrease in self-esteem, loss of self-confidence, self-imposed vomiting, fear of weight gain, and obesity.

Desired Outcome: The patient will have a more realistic view of one’s body image than an idealistic one.

Disturbed Body Image Nursing InterventionsRationale 
Assess the overall well-being of the patient and set questions that are adaptable to his/her needs. During the assessment, allow the patient to express his/her negative emotions and feelings about one’s self-image.Adapting to the patient’s needs helps in maintaining open communication and provides a rapport of mutual trust. This also serves as an opportunity to communicate on the patient’s unrealistic image and perception. 
Ensure the patient is at ease during the initial assessment. Guarantee patient confidentiality and ensure any shared statements will only be shared among handling health workers.To ensure that the patient’s confidentiality is not compromised. To allow space for honesty and openness of the situation. 
Encourage the patient to consider partaking in a treatment program that helps with behavioral mitigation and self-improvement.Supporting the patient to actively participate in his/her development plan, encourages control over actions and helps improve confidence. 
Establish good and helpful nurse-patient interaction, and outline the prescribed program effectively and understandably.Encourages patient to voice out his/her concerns or questions relating to the development program. Informs patient of the possible risks involved.
Aid patient in finding other avenues of enhancing personal appearance by instilling use of makeup or stylish clothing.Helping patients learn more about applying makeup or suggesting good fashionable clothing to wear may bring about self-esteem and prevent the depreciation of self-worth.
Encourage the patient in bringing back control to his/her life choices and daily activities. Promulgate acceptance of oneself.To promote patient dignity and self-esteem, which provides an opportunity to carry on with life actively.
Maintain tolerance and control over one’s response rather than implicating the situation by arguing.  Therapeutic communication is one of the standard techniques that nurses use to establish trust and compassion with patients. Thus, this should be practiced at all times. It is crucial to approach the patient with a non-judgmental attitude, tossing away any feelings of irritability or displeasure (which is a trait that should never be seen in any health workers). Often, patients still view themselves negatively; hence other conditions and mood disorders should be expected, such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, psychosexual dysfunction and the like. The nurse should be understanding at all times as not to hinder the care and management of the patient.  

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plan 2


Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Disturbed Body Image related to excessive calorie intake secondary to obesity, as evidenced by helplessness, frailty, verbalization of insecurity, fear of rejection, expression of uncontrollable eating habits, and lack of perseverance to diet goal.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The patient’s goal is aligned with a realistic image.
  • The patient will embrace and accept body image instead of an idealized one that is mandated by societal standards.
  • The patient will practice responsibility and control over his/her own treatment.
  • The patient will continuously pursue a proper fitness plan and appropriate goal of weight loss.
Disturbed Body Image Nursing InterventionsRationale 
Assess the patient’s history in relation to the cause of obesityThe patient may have impactful choices that may have influenced in obesity. Assessment helps in determining possible interventions. 
During management and care activities, ensure that patient is comfortable and has privacy.The patient may have trouble following care activities due to self-consciousness and sensitivity.
Instigate openness in communication with regards to the prescribed program or care plan, and adapt a non-judgmental approach to prevent patient from fear of judgment and reaction.Promoting a healthy discussion on the patient’s journey, treatment plan or goal to weight loss helps increase his/her perception and determination. It promotes positive body image and dignity by presenting a support system he/she can depend and pull motivation from.
 Thoroughly explain the responsibilities and duties of both patient and nurse.Giving insight on both sides helps understand and allocate areas of function and role. This is also done to ensure that any information about the prescribed treatment program is relayed accurately and comprehensibly.
Suggest participation in community support groups that provides a structured program and support system.Having other forms of support by communicating with others who share the same experience as the patient, helps inspire and motivate him/her to find clarity and relief. Support groups act by promoting mutual support, and it also helps decrease patient tendencies to isolate themselves.

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plan 3

Rheumatoid arthritis

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Disturbed Body Image related to chronic inflammation of joints secondary to rheumatoid arthritis, as evidenced by invalidation of oneself, change in behavior, decrease in participation of daily living activities, verbalization and attention to the altered body part (e.g., side effects of steroid treatment, deformity of the joint).

Desired Outcomes:

  • Patient freely expresses his/her standpoint and view on ailment.
  • Patient is able to evoke positive feelings about his/her body image.
Disturbed Body Image Nursing InterventionsRationale 
Ensure that the patient is comfortable before evaluating his/her wellness. Ask his/her feelings and perception about the chronic illness, constraints and restrictions required. Have the patient express his/her struggles in school, social affairs, active participation and issues with carrying forward.Having patient verbally express his/her concerns reinforces active listening on one side, but it also provides data on the other. This is also employed to investigate the status of patient and realize how the patient perceive themselves.

Ensure that the patient is at ease during questioning and guarantee patient confidentialityTo ensure that the patient’s confidentiality is not compromised. It allows space for honesty and openness of the situation
Observe for any evidence that may indicate depression and social withdrawal.Closely tracking warning signs that may translate to withdrawal behavior helps determine poor assimilation of care management or plan. It may denote that the patient is having difficulty with adapting.
Discuss and report patient’s pain and deformities, detailing the affected areas, as well as possible changes in the body such as weight gain and buildup of fluid or edema.Presence of deformities and an abnormal shift in the distribution of fat are possible side effects of steroid therapy. Determining these side effects can help assure the patient that these manifestations are to be expected and that it may help soothe negative self-imposed perception and image.   
Disapprove any negative connotations and comments in relation to the patient’s condition. Encourage positive engagements only.  To create a safe space for the patient and permit positive impression on oneself.   To promote improvement in self-perception and body image.
Recommend psychological guidance given by professionals to further advocate function and education to the patient.This is to increase self-confidence and view to a greater extent. Additionally, professionals are able to bring validation to the patient’s feelings.

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plan 4


Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Disturbed Body Image related to abnormal sideway curvature of the spine secondary to scoliosis, as evidenced by a desire to change spine structure, negative perception on body image, getting the impression of rejection from peers, and difficulty to partake in some activities.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Patient will have improved perception about body image. 
  • Patient understands their condition may restrict them from certain activities in the long run.
Disturbed Body Image Nursing InterventionsRationale 

Ask the patient about his/her perception and feelings on using back braces for an extended period of time, all the while mentioning its significance in treatment and its restrictive effect on body movements.

To assist in creating a possible management plan and investigate on patient’s self-perception from the information provided.   To prescribe braces but with high regard to patient perception on his/her self-image. 
Support patient by helping with the independent implementation and execution of ADL. Assist with applying and removing the braces.To encourage independence of patient to perform ADL and allow thorough adaptation or adjustment to the appliance.
Ensure the safety of the environment by promulgating positive influences and activities only.To improve how the patient sees themselves as. It also promotes body positivity and helps procure respect and trust of the patient.
Assist the patient in finding suitable clothing or cover for the appliance as if it were a typical fashion scheme.Assisting the patient in finding other avenues of clothing to cover the appliance helps increase his/her perception and determination. It promotes positive body image and dignity by presenting a support system he/she can depend and pull motivation from.
Instruct and teach the patient of certain confines and activity limitations to avoid such as excessive, endurance driven activities (cycling, skating, contact sports) that may put him/her at risk.To prevent any implications that may arise or further complicate the current condition. It also averts possible surgery due to correction of disfigurement.

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Care Plan 5


Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Disturbed Body Image related to abnormal sideways curvature of the spine secondary to scoliosis, as evidenced by negative perception on body image, negative view on skin problem and fear of judgment

Desired Outcome: The patient freely expresses and verbalizes feelings on skin condition and resumes daily functional activities.

Disturbed Body Image Nursing InterventionsRationale
Evaluate patient’s perception about oneself and feelings on his/her changed in appearance.The nurse must understand and be able to grasp the patient’s feelings and stance. Dermatitis affects the external appearance and these distinct changes may have impacted their perception and sensitivity.
Carefully observe patient’s demeanor relating to his/her appearance.There is a tendency that the patients will conceal any issues they have with their appearance or body. This may cause misapprehension of patient’s condition and influence the type of medical treatment or approach needed. In some cases, they may physically conceal lesion in their skin. Masking existing skin problems decreases patient’s social engagement since it promotes fear of rejection or judgment from others.
Encourage the patient to disclose his/her feelings in relation to the skin condition. Have him/her freely express any sensibilities from the current state.This promotes guidance to the patient and likewise enables emotional outpouring. Through verbalization of the patient’s feelings, he/she may be directed away from linking self-worth and physical appearance.
Aid patients in putting his/her condition into words or appropriate responses to certain questions from people who may be curious about the patient’s lesions and transmission.  There may be people who have questions regarding the patient’s condition. It is important to assist patients in finding a response and explanation with regards to the condition of the skin. It must also be noted that dermatitis is not contagious and transmissible to others via contact.

Nursing References

Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., Makic, M. B., Martinez-Kratz, M. R., & Zanotti, M. (2020). Nursing diagnoses handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2022). Nursing care plans: Diagnoses, interventions, & outcomes. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. Buy on Amazon

Ignatavicius, D. D., Workman, M. L., Rebar, C. R., & Heimgartner, N. M. (2020). Medical-surgical nursing: Concepts for interprofessional collaborative care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Silvestri, L. A. (2020). Saunders comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN examination. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon


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The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

This information is intended to be nursing education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN-BC, BSN, PHN, CMSRN I am a Critical Care ER nurse. I have been in this field for over 30 years. I also began teaching BSN and LVN students and found that by writing additional study guides helped their knowledge base, especially when it was time to take the NCLEX examinations.

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