Can you pull it off? appearance modifying behaviors adopted by wig users with alopecia in social interactions

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14 Citations (Scopus)


In the academic and medical literature on alopecia, wigs (hair prostheses) are typically recommended as a coping strategy: a device to camouflage, conceal, or cover hair loss, and cope with the psychological impact of a dramatic change in body image. This paper used Goffman's (1959) theory of impression management to demonstrate (a) the social significance of self-presentation, and (b) how adults with alopecia managed their wig use in their daily lives. Data from 14 interviews, two focus groups and six video diaries with 22 Caucasian adults (19 females, 3 males; 29–74 years, SD = 13.75) with alopecia in Scotland were analysed using discursive psychology. The analysis detailed how participants managed their wig use and behaviours in relation to social interaction with different categories of people. The paper raises concerns about health and medical discourse about wigs as a coping mechanism, and provides practical suggestions for wig users in social settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156–166
Number of pages11
JournalBody Image
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • alopecia
  • camouflage
  • coping
  • Goffman
  • self-presentational issues
  • self-presentation
  • wig

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