(Español) Imagen corporal: concepto y variables que la componen

imagen corporal

When we look us in front of the mirror no always perceive the reality such cual as it is but like our mind processes it in function of our emotional state, psychological and physicist. Therefore there are days in which we see us more or less attractive or value better or worse our physical appearance, influenciado also by the state of our personal self-esteem. The corporal image that created us depends on much more that the real physical appearance.

Concept of corporal image

The representation of the body that each person builds in his mind beside the vivencia that has of the own body is what define like corporal image. We can not confuse the term corporal image with the one of physical appearance. A person that has a different physical appearance to the standard of the canon of traditional beauty can feel equally comfortable with his body whereas also it can  produce the contrary, a person with a physical appearance apparently perfect can not to feel well achieve same in relation to his image corporal (Salaberria, Rodriguez and Cruz, 2007).

Therefore, the physical appearance in himself is not the fundamental determinant that, for example, a person decide to subject to an operation of increase of breast or no, or that it influence in his social interactions. The manager of these decisions will be the corporal image perceived and his need to see it improved already was to physical or psychological level. The corporal image is the perception of the physical appearance associated to the emotion that produces in the person this image of himself same.

Variables of the corporal image

Have a suitable corporal image is one of the basic pillars of our emotional and psychological balance since the physical appearance that have, which does not depend in the majority of the cases of us same, is with which have to coexist and is the first source of information in any social interaction. Process this personal information of erroneous way will create a corporal image desvirtuada that will affect to our lives, although as we say was not dependent of us in a lot of cases.

We are born like this, or we can have congenital problems, illnesses or accidents that can desfigurar our appearance, in addition to the own deterioration by the step of the time and the old age, that for a lot of people is difficult to carry. All this will come determinate, according to Cash and Pruzinsky (1990) by three fundamental appearances that form our corporal image:

  1. Perception. The alteration of the perception can give place to unreal cognitive distortions on estimate of our appearance. The precision with which perceive the size, weight or form of determinate parts of our body goes to influence on our corporal image. What for ones is a lot for others is little, is personal.
  2. Cognition-Emotion. In this section have to take into account the way in which we experience pleasure, satisfaction, impotence or other emotions in relation to as we see us. They go in at stake the internal thoughts (associated in a lot of occasions to the cultural education), feelings and attitudes that generate us these physical appearances of our body.
  3. Behaviour. The derivative behaviours of these perceptions have another important paper. It does reference to as we comport us in relation to our body: we teach it?,we hide it? The camuflamos? They go in at stake for example to how it influences our perception of the body on the clothes that use, the make-up or the social exhibition of the same. For example, they exist determinate people that costs them showed in the beach in swimsuit and avoid this type of situations.

Alls estyou appearances go elaborating along our existence the corporal image that have of us same. Some appearances influence on the others, if comportamentalmente are not doing of suitable way, will influence and will increase our thoughts associated to this physical appearance and to his time will distort the perception that have of us same along the years.


Build a good personal image is directly related with our psychological welfare and already has to be taken care from the first years of life, with a suitable education in this regard understanding, comprising and accepting our body, as well as know how improve our personal image to avoid alterations of the same in back ages that can give place even to psychological disorders. Take care your body also is to take care your mind, and vice versa.



Cash, T.F. And Pruzinsky, T. (1990). Body images: development, deviance and changes. New york. Guilford Press.

Salaberria, K., Rodríguez, S., Cruz, S. (2007). Perception of the corporal image. Osasunaz, 8, 171-183

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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