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Reimaging after an alteration in appearance or function involved 3 phases with assimilation, accommodation, and interpretation

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Question What are the processes of reimaging that people use as they adapt to an alteration in body appearance or function over a period of 18 months?


Grounded theory.


Community study in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.


32 adults were recruited through advertisements in newspapers and contact with health professionals. All had a substantial alteration in physical appearance or function (weight change >22.7 kg; loss or paralysis of body parts; ostomies; scarring from burns, surgery, or trauma; surgical reconstruction; or cardiac transplantation). 28 participants completed all aspects of the study. Age range was 19–85 years with a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds. 89% were white and 75% were women.


Participants were interviewed 3, 6, 12, and 18 months after their alteration in body function or appearance. Interviews were done using a broad interview guide with relevant prompts. The interview focused on participants' perceptions of themselves and their experiences during the study, …

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  • Source of funding: National Center for Nursing Research.

  • For correspondence: Dr J Norris, Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Evaluation, Creighton University, School of Nursing, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178, USA. Fax +1 402 280 2045.