The role of body image changes in neurorehabilitation outcomes: a preliminary study

Giuseppa Maresca, Maria Grazia Maggio, Santina Caliri, Maria Cristina De Cola, Ileana Scarcella, Adriana Andaloro, Desirè Latella, Maria Accorinti, Rosaria De Luca, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Body representation includes body schema (a plastic and dynamic representation of the body’s spatial and biomechanical properties) and body image (a conscious representation of the body, including the functions and relationships of the body parts). The aim of our study is to understand the change of body representation in patients affected by Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), undergoing a program that integrates psychological and nutritional support. Forty patients with ABI diagnosis were enrolled in this study and randomized into either the control (CG:n = 20) or the experimental (EG:n = 20) group. The EG underwent psychological counselling (PC) focused on the perception of body schema and on the reduction of depressive symptoms as well as a Nutritional Counselling (NC) in which all patients had a personalized nutritional plan, based on their needs once a week for 6 months. In contrast, the CG received only a nutritional treatment. Results show that the combined PC-NC approach encouraged change in body representation, the reconstruction of body image and improved mood. In conclusion, our data demonstrates that patients with ABI undergoing the combined approach can improve the perception of their body schema, mood and therapeutic compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number1
Early online dateMar 25 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2020


  • acquired brain injury
  • Body image
  • body representation
  • nutritional counselling
  • psychological counselling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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