An International Conference about
the Impact of Appearance in our Society



9 – 10 DECEMBER 2014

The conference was held on 9th and 10th of December at Kristianstad University in Sweden and had over 160 participants from 37 countries. For two days, leading experts, researchers and practitioners in the areas of education, vocational settings, public health, medicine and social & cultural aspects from 37 countries presented and shared their research and practical experiences in relation to appearance.






Professor Paxton’s research has concentrated on understanding risk factors for the development of body image and eating disorders, and the evaluation of prevention and treatment interventions for these problems. Her major current projects explore the early development of body image and eating behaviours, body image and disordered eating at critical developmental phases, evaluation of school-based prevention interventions and stigma associated with eating disorders. 

Dr. Austin is an award-winning researcher, teacher, and mentor. She is Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator at the Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Boston

Dr Alex Clarke recently headed of the psychology department within the Royal Free Hospital Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a centre of excellence in this specialty and now focuses on research and teaching. She is the author of approximately 70 research papers, book chapters and publications for patient groups. Her current research interests focus on the factors predicting adjustment to disfiguring conditions and altered appearance, and the development of psychological interventions to overcome body image distress.

Cassandra Aspinall received a BA in Psychology in 1985 and her Masters in Social Work in 1987 from the University of Washington. She is currently employed full time as a social worker at Seattle Children’s Hospital where she has worked since 1985 and currently works as one of 3 social workers in the Craniofacial Center. Interests include medical ethics, teaching, writing and research. Ms. Aspinall has research interests involving quality of life and access to dental and orthodontic services. She has published on topics surrounding issues involved in surgical decision-making in pediatrics, as they relate to the care of patients born with craniofacial conditions. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University Of Washington School Of Social Work.

Darryl Roberts is an established writer, producer, and director. Best known for his 2008 award-winning documentary about America’s obsession with beauty, "America the Beautiful”. This movie has been internationally successful, winning accolades that include: Best Documentary (Beloit International Film Festival), Audience Award (Giffoni Hollywood Film Festival), Best Director – Documentary Category (Chicago International Film Festival), and the UN Rights of the Child Award (Chicago International Children’s Film Festival). Darryl is currently completing the third and final installment of the series that focuses on the sexualization of our youth, called ATB 3: The Sexualization of Our Youth (Link to movie trailer). Inspired by the people and events from the documentaries that he's done, Mr. Roberts founded the Are You An Ally? Anti Bullying Campaign (, which began in just 20 cities in 2013, and will be shown in 10,000 high schools in October 2014 for National Anti-Bullying Month.



Tuesday 9th of December, 2014

09:00 - 09:45


09:45 – 10:00

Welcome Speech - Chair Action, Chancellor of Kristianstad University, Director of Folkuniversitetet

10:00 – 10:40 

Building effective body image interventions using a risk factor framework

Prof Susan Paxton, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

10:40 – 11:00 

Digital era - a new era for appearance research concerning adolescents

Prof Jacek Pyzalski, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

11:00 – 11:30

Coffee & Networking

11:30 – 12:10 

How we work with individuals with visible differences – A perspective from Seattle.

Ms Cassy Aspinall, Craniofacial Center, Seattle Children's Hospital, USA

12:10 – 12:30 

A Novel Approach for Pragmatic Evaluations of Psychological Interventions: the Cohort Multiple Randomized Controlled Trial (cmRCT) Design

Dr Linda Kwakkenbos, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands & McGill University, Montreal, Canada

12:30 – 12:50 

Appearance and Values in the modern Bulgarian society seen by a plastic surgeon and an orthodontist

Prof Youri Anastassov & Dr Radost Velikova, Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

12:50 – 14:10

Lunch & Networking

14:10 – 14:50

Appearance Matters – from research to practice via European projects

Dr Martin Persson, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK & Mr Thomas Nilsen, Godalen Vocational College, Norway

14:50 – 15:10 

The development and acceptability of YP-Face IT: an online psychosocial support programme for young people with a visible difference

Dr Heidi Williamson, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

15:10 – 15:30 

Social Activism – How can we influence?

Mr Darryl Roberts, Chicago, USA

15:30 – 16:30

Coffee & Networking


Wednesday 10th of December, 2014

09:00 – 09:20 

The never ending story of bullied girls’ body image problems

Prof Ann Frisén, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

09:20 – 09:40 

It's who I am not what I do that best predicts the relationship between body dissatisfaction and depression.

Dr Barbara Dooley, University College Dublin, Ireland

09:40 – 10:20 

Appearance and Public Health – an innovative approach

Dr Austin Bryn, Harvard Medical School, USA

10:20 – 11:00

Coffee & Networking

11:00 – 11:20 

Appearance and body esteem as related to cyberbullying, gender, age differences, and perceived social support

Dr Tali Heiman & Dr Dorit Olenik Shemesh, The Open University, Israel

11:20 – 11:40 

Appearance issues, physical activity, sport and health from a salutogenic youth perspective - Lessons learned from research and action in the south of Sweden

Dr Åsa Bringsén, & Dr Ann-Christin Sollerhed, Kristianstad University, Sweden

11:40 – 12:00

The role of adaptive and non-adaptive competitiveness in attitudes towards appearance: potential future research directions

Prof Márta Fülöp, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

12:00 – 12:20

Moving from research to practice: Delivering evidence-based body image interventions in community settings.

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

12:20 – 13:50

Lunch & Networking

13:50 – 14:30 

Psychosocial Interventions for Anxiety due to Visible Difference

Prof Alex Clarke, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, UK

14:30 – 15:00

Panel Discussion

15:00 – 15:30


15:30 – 16:00

Coffee & Networking