Deutsch: Selbstbild / Español: Autoimagen / Português: Autoimagem / Français: Image de soi / Italiano: Immagine di sé

The Self-image is a total subjective perception of one's body and personality (another term for self-concept).

In psychology, self-image refers to the mental picture a person has of themselves, which is a component of their broader self-concept. This includes how they perceive their appearance, abilities, and behaviors. Self-image is not necessarily an accurate reflection of reality but rather how individuals see themselves, which can be influenced by social interactions and personal interpretations.


Self-image is formed through experiences with the external world and internal thoughts and feelings. It affects how individuals interact with their environment, influencing their behavior and decisions. A positive self-image can lead to higher self-esteem and confidence, while a negative self-image may result in feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

This concept is particularly important in developmental and clinical psychology, where understanding how individuals see themselves can provide insights into their emotional and mental health. Enhancing self-image is often a goal in therapeutic settings, especially for those struggling with issues of self-esteem and identity.

Application Areas

Self-image is relevant in various psychological fields, including:

  • Clinical psychology: Treatments may focus on improving self-image as part of therapy for depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
  • Social psychology: Explores how group dynamics, social comparisons, and cultural pressures influence self-image.
  • Educational psychology: Addresses students' self-image to boost academic performance and social integration.

Well-Known Examples

Research and theories related to self-image include:

  • Social comparison theory by Leon Festinger, which suggests that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others.
  • Body image studies, which examine how perceptions of physical appearance influence one’s overall self-image.

Treatment and Risks

Improving self-image is a common therapeutic goal, especially for individuals with distorted perceptions of themselves, which can affect mental health and quality of life. Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are used to challenge and change negative beliefs about oneself, aligning self-image more closely with reality.

However, an overly idealistic or inflated self-image can lead to difficulties such as narcissistic tendencies or failure to recognize and address personal flaws. Balanced self-image development is crucial for healthy psychological functioning.

Similar Terms

Related psychological terms include:

  • Self-esteem: Refers specifically to one's feelings of self-worth, which are influenced by self-image.
  • Self-perception: A broader term that includes self-image and relates to how individuals interpret their own behaviors and attributes.


Self-image is a crucial aspect of psychology, representing how individuals view their own abilities, appearance, and behavior. It plays a significant role in influencing a person's overall self-concept and self-esteem, impacting their emotional well-being and interactions with the world. Addressing self-image in therapeutic and developmental contexts is essential for fostering healthy psychological development and well-being.