Appearance Anxiety Inventory

Appearance Anxiety Inventory

The Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI) is a 10-item questionnaire used to assess body image anxiety, particularly related to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). It measures behaviors like vigilance about appearance threats, camouflaging of perceived flaws, and avoidance of appearance-related situations. Scores are interpreted based on severity levels (Normal Range, Mild, Moderate, Severe, Extremely Severe) relative to the normative mean. The AAI has strong psychometric properties and is effective for monitoring treatment progress in individuals with appearance-related anxiety.

Body image concerns are common in today’s society, but when these concerns become excessive and impact daily functioning, they may indicate body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI) is a specialized tool designed to assess the severity of body image anxiety, particularly in individuals with BDD. At Nova Psychology, we aim to provide comprehensive insights into such tools to better inform and support our clients.

What is the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI)?

The AAI is a 10-item questionnaire developed to measure anxiety related to body image. It focuses on various behaviors associated with appearance anxiety, including vigilance about perceived flaws, efforts to camouflage or hide these flaws, and avoidance of situations that might expose them. This tool is particularly useful in identifying and monitoring the severity of BDD symptoms.

Purpose of the AAI

The AAI serves several key purposes:

  • Assessment: Helps clinicians evaluate the extent of appearance-related anxiety in individuals.
  • Diagnosis: Assists in diagnosing body dysmorphic disorder by identifying specific behaviors and thoughts related to body image.
  • Monitoring: Tracks changes in symptoms over time, making it an effective tool for monitoring treatment progress.

Structure of the AAI

The AAI includes 10 items, each rated on a scale that reflects the frequency or severity of specific behaviors and thoughts related to body image anxiety. The scores are interpreted based on established severity levels:

  • Normal Range
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Extremely Severe

These levels provide a clear framework for understanding the intensity of the individual’s anxiety and guide subsequent treatment plans.

Sample Questions

Here are a few examples of the types of questions included in the AAI:

  • How often do you feel self-conscious about your appearance?
  • How frequently do you avoid social situations due to concerns about your looks?
  • How often do you engage in behaviors to hide or fix perceived flaws in your appearance?

Psychometric Properties

The AAI has been validated through various studies, demonstrating strong psychometric properties. It has shown high reliability and validity in assessing body image anxiety and has been effective in both clinical and research settings. The tool’s sensitivity to changes over time makes it particularly valuable for tracking the progress of therapeutic interventions.

Importance of the AAI in Treatment

Monitoring the severity of appearance-related anxiety is crucial for effective treatment of BDD. The AAI helps clinicians tailor treatment plans to the individual’s specific needs, ensuring targeted and effective interventions. By regularly using the AAI, therapists can:

  • Identify critical areas of concern and prioritize treatment goals.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic approaches and make necessary adjustments.
  • Provide measurable outcomes to support ongoing therapy and motivation for clients.

Appearance Anxiety Inventory Conclusion

The Appearance Anxiety Inventory is an essential tool for assessing and managing body dysmorphic disorder. Its structured approach and strong psychometric properties make it a reliable instrument for both diagnosis and treatment monitoring. At Nova Psychology, we emphasize the importance of using validated tools like the AAI to provide the best possible care for our clients.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body image anxiety, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support. Early assessment and intervention can significantly improve quality of life and mental well-being. For more information on the AAI and other resources, feel free to contact us at Nova Psychology.


  • Veale, D., Eshkevari, E., Kanakam, N., Ellison, N., Dosta, A., & Werner, T. G. (2014). Development of the Appearance Anxiety Inventory: A New Tool for Measuring Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 42(5), 605-616.
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Veale, D. (2004). Advances in a cognitive behavioural model of body dysmorphic disorder. Body Image, 1(1), 113-125.

By understanding and utilizing tools like the AAI, we can work towards better mental health outcomes and enhanced quality of life for those affected by body image concerns. Thank you for visiting Nova Psychology, where your mental health and well-being are our top priorities.


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