, Volume 53, Issue 7-8, pp 519-530

Relations Between Body Image and Dieting Behaviors: An Examination of Gender Differences

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Abstract

Although links between body image and dieting behaviors have been established among women, little research is available to elucidate relations between these constructs among men. In the present study, we examined relations between men's and women's body image and healthy and unhealthy dieting behaviors. Two hundred and eight participants' (104 men, mean age = 25.88 years; 104 women, mean age = 23.87 years) body perceptions and body satisfaction were assessed using the Contour Drawing Rating Scale. Participants' dieting behaviors were assessed using the Weight Control Behavior Scale and weight status was assessed using body mass index (BMI). Analyses of relations among BMI, body satisfaction, and healthy dieting behaviors revealed a predictable pattern for both men and women; BMI was inversely related to body satisfaction and was positively related to healthy dieting behaviors. Body satisfaction was inversely related to both men's and women's healthy and unhealthy dieting behaviors. Further analyses of the relations between men's and women's body image and unhealthy dieting behaviors suggest different motives for men's and women's participation in these potentially health-compromising weight-management techniques. Results are discussed in terms of their contribution to researchers' understanding of the gendered nature of body image and dieting behaviors.