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BOOK REVIEW: Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research and Clinical Practice

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2003 Volume 13, Number 6
©2002 Gürze Books

(Thomas Cash and Thomas Pruzinksy, Eds. NY: Guilford Press, 2002, 530 pp; $60)

The editors of this volume, among the most prominent body image researchers on the current scene, have compiled a highly readable, authoritative handbook of 57 chapters by leading figures in the field that pull together contemporary perspectives on virtually all aspects of body image research. The authors list serves as a "Who's Who" in body image research. Topics span the entire field. They include theory, assessment and measurement, developmental aspects, social and cultural issues, gender, psychological states and psychiatric conditions concerning normative negative body image. These topics also range to the eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder, and medical and surgical themes from obesity to conditions involving dermatology, dentistry, urology, obstetrics and gynecology, rehabilitation medicine, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, and fitness enhancement. The chapters on psychosocial rehabilitation, psychotherapies, social intervention, prevention and ecological activism will particularly please those of us challenged with helping individuals and communities deal with these disorders.

In order to cover all of this territory in a manageable number of pages, the chapters are necessarily brief. I found this feature to be both a benefit and a frustration. Many topics about which I'd like to know much more are just touched upon in these pages. I guess I'll have to look up some of the many current references included in each chapter. This limitation is more than compensated for by the breadth and quality of coverage. I'm going to be reaching for this volume frequently, and I'll add this book to my "must" list for clinicians and researchers working with patients with any body image-related issue. That's a lot of us.

— J.Y.


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