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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

Wounded healers? Exploring body image perceptions and the need for psychosocial intervention among undergraduate medical students


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman
3 College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Miriam Archana Simon
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, PO Box 391, PC 321, Al Tareef, Sohar
Sultanate of Oman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amh.amh_14_21

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Background: Body image issues are on the rise and affect people of all ages. It is one of the top-ranked issues of concern for young people. The present study aims to explore the body image perceptions and concerns of medical students, in particular their body esteem. Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted among the medical students at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sultanate of Oman. Students across the 6 years in the medical program were invited to be part of the study. Self-report of body mass index and body weight satisfaction were obtained. Participants were also required to complete items corresponding to the Appearance and Attribution sub-scales of the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults. Results: Results from 351 participants indicate that medical students in Oman experience low body esteem, especially related to the self-perception of their appearance and evaluations of others. Bodyweight dissatisfaction and behavioral attempts to change weight, though associated, are not very strong predictors for body esteem. Conclusions: Results indicate that psychosocial and cultural factors may play a major contributory role in body image perceptions. Exposure to medical training that instills knowledge and awareness of body composition, eating habits and eating disorders does not seem to positively impact higher body esteem in students. It is recommended that awareness modules and psychoeducation sessions focusing on body image issues be planned and initiated for medical students in Oman.


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