International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 213

Full Length Research Paper

Coming-out in Body Integrity Dysphoria

Maya Berger
  • Maya Berger
  • Department of Psychology, Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences, Am Kaiserkai 1, D-20457 Hamburg, Germany.
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Aglaja Stirn
  • Aglaja Stirn
  • Department of Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy, Christian-Albrechts-Universit├Ąt zu Kiel, University of Applied Sciences, Niemannsweg 147, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.
  • Google Scholar
Erich Kasten
  • Erich Kasten
  • Department of Psychology, Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences, Am Kaiserkai 1, D-20457 Hamburg, Germany.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 30 April 2021
  •  Accepted: 30 August 2021
  •  Published: 31 October 2021

Abstract

The term body integrity dysphoria (BID) describes a discrepancy between the actual anatomical body constitution and the mentally represented body of a physically impaired person, which is often experienced as chronically dysphoric as well as the resulting desire of the affected person to have a (permanent) physical impairment (amputation, paralysis, etc.) in order to complement their own “true” identity. In the present study, potentially relevant factors influencing the quality of life of BID sufferers in the context of their coming-out process were examined. A questionnaire survey was used to ask BID sufferers (N = 50) about the reactions of their immediate social environment about their coming-out as a person suffering from BID and the influence of these reactions on the stress caused by the BID symptoms. Contrary to the expectations of those affected by BID and the great fear of social rejection prior to coming out, most of the time they experienced positive reactions (t test: p = .000). In addition, it became clear that coming-out can be a considerable relief for those affected by BID due to the social support experienced in this context (t test: p = .000). These results suggest that the coming-out of BID sufferers, in combination with the experience of being able to live out their own “true” identity within a liberal social environment without having to fear being labeled “abnormal" and excluded from participation in society can significantly reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of comorbid disorders such as depression, etc., the not uncommon result of coming-out is a significant reduction in the number of BID suffers. Comorbid disorders may frequently be the result of a defamatory self-perception shaped by the collective views of a conservative society.

 

Key words: Body integrity dysphoria, BID, Body Integrity Identity Disorder, BIID, coming-out, quality of life.