Illness Perceptions, Body Image Concern and Quality of Life in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Author: Ayesha Adeel

Supervisor: Rafia Rafique, PhD

Degree: MS

Year: 2014-2016

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) along with its clinical and biochemical symptoms burdens the reproductive years of women by affecting their physical and mental health. The present study investigated the illness perceptions (cognitive illness representations and emotional representations), body image concern and quality of life (overall quality of life, health/functioning, psychological/spiritual, social and economic and family) in women with PCOS. It was hypothesized that there is likely to be a relationship between illness perceptions, body image concern and quality of life in women with PCOS; negative illness perception is likely to predict poor quality of life and body image concern is likely to mediate the relationship between illness perceptions and quality of life in women with PCOS. Correlational research design was used in the present research. Purposive sampling technique was used to recruit the sample (N = 126) of women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome from hospitals situated in the city of Lahore. Urdu versions of assessment measures consisted of Socio-Demographic and Clinical Information Sheet, Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (Brief-IPQ) (Broadbent, et al., 2006), Body Image Concern Inventory (BICI) (Littleton, 2005) and Quality of Life Index (QLI) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome version III (Ferrans, & Powers, 1998) were used. Pearson Product Moment Correlation Analysis was used. To test the prediction and mediation Multiple Hierarchical Regression Analysis was used. Negative illness representations and higher body image concern were related to poor quality of life; negative cognitive illness representations significantly predicted poor quality of life and body image concern did not mediate the relationship  between  illness  perceptions  and  quality  of  life  in women with PCOS. Along with clinical management of PCOS, psychological intervention should also be focused to improve the quality of life of these women. The research raises implication for clinical practice and suggests a multidisciplinary approach particularly patient-centered to the management of PCOS in women inculcating psycho-education and counseling to improve their quality of life.

Keywords: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Illness Perceptions, Body Image Concern, Quality of life.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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