The body image and relationships scale: Development and validation of a measure of body image in female breast cancer survivors

Julia M. Hormes, Leslie A. Lytle, Cynthia R. Gross, Rehana L. Ahmed, Andrea B. Troxel, Kathryn H. Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: A self-report measure of body image in female breast cancer survivors, the Body Image and Relationships Scale (BIRS), was developed to address attitudes about appearance, health, physical strength, sexuality, relationships, and social functioning following treatment. Methods: The 32-item measure, generated by expert consensus and revised based on focus group feedback, was administered to 95 female breast cancer participants twice within 1 to 2 weeks. Test-retest reliability, internal consistency, and validity of the measure were assessed using standard-scale construction techniques. The structure of the proposed measure was evaluated using exploratory factor analysis. Associations of the resulting factors and other variables were assessed using extreme groups analyses. Results: The BIRS had satisfactory test-retest reliability and internal consistency. Principal axis factoring revealed three factors: (1) health and strength, (2) social barriers, and (3) appearance and sexuality. Correlations of the subscales with standardized measures of related constructs were significant and in the anticipated directions. Extreme groups analyses suggested associations between less physical activity and more impairment on factors 1 and 3, premenopausal status at first diagnosis and more impairment on factor 2, and younger age at the time of survey administration and more impairment on factor 3. Conclusion: The proposed scale demonstrated satisfactory reliability and internal consistency. Factor analysis revealed three subscales with coherent item content and differential associations with measures of activity level, menopause status, and age. Observed relationships with other measures support convergent and divergent validity. Results suggest that the proposed scale is useful for clinical and research applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1274
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 10 2008


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