Relationship Between Objectification, Body Image and Mental Health Among Women After Breast Cancer Surgery: A Structural Equation Model

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Su-Ying Fang, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing, Chung-Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
Hong-Tai Chang, MD
Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Bih-Ching Shu, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing and Institute of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand that objectification impacts breast cancer women’s psychological wellbeing through its relation with body image.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand that the degree of objectification will be different in terms of different breast cancer surgery.

Purpose: Objectification putting women to view themselves as an object has negative impact on women’s psychological well-being. Little research has examined the effect of objectification on women after breast cancer surgery. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between objectification, body image and mental health among women after breast cancer surgery.

Methods: A cross-sectional with 3-group comparison design was used in this study. This study was approved by IRB of one University Hospital in the southern Taiwan. Women were recruited who 1) received one of breast cancer surgeries including breast conservative surgery (BCS), mastectomy (MRM) and mastectomy plus breast reconstruction (BR), 2) completed adjuvant therapy and 3) without psychiatric disorders. One hundred and ninety-three women were qualified and agreed to participate in this study. They were given the questionnaires to measure objectification, body image and depression.

Results:  1) BCS group (28%) had significant less body image problem than MRM (56.4%) and BR (18.6%) groups (p<.01). BR group had significant higher objectification scores than BCS group (p<.05). 2) These three groups did not show significant differences in depression. 3) Structural equation analysis found that the hypothesized model with the body image operating as mediators of the relationships between objectification and depression resulted in an acceptable overall fit (RMSEA = .074, CFI = .945, AGFI= .902). Objectification and body image explained 54% of the variance in depression. And objectification explained 50% of the variance in body image. 

Conclusion: According to the structural equation model, health care providers may develop interventions to help cultivating the positive attitude to their bodies for breast cancer women.