Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 7, pp 555-566

A Comparison of the Sources and Nature of Body Image Messages Perceived by Indigenous Fijian and European Australian Adolescent Girls

  • Lauren K. WilliamsAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University Email author 
  • , Lina A. RicciardelliAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Marita P. McCabeAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Boyd A. SwinburnAffiliated withSchool of Exercise Health and Nutrition, Deakin University
  • , Gade G. WaqaAffiliated withFiji School of Medicine
  • , Kelera BavadraAffiliated withFiji School of Medicine

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Abstract

Australian and Fijian adolescent girls reported on the influence that sociocultural factors, including parents, peers, and the media, had on their body image attitudes. It was expected that messages that promote a thin body would be less prevalent among Fijians, as their cultural traditions place more importance on robust body sizes. An inductive thematic analysis of the girls’ semi-structured interviews indicated that both Fijian (n = 16) and Australian (n = 16) girls (aged 13–17) reported messages from similar sources, which included parents, siblings, and friends/peers. Australian girls consistently reported messages that reinforced thinness. On the other hand, Fijian girls reported messages that emphasized both thinness and robustness. The discussion focuses on the conflict between Western ideals and cultural Fijian traditions and the implications for culturally sensitive interventions.

Keywords

Body image attitudes Fiji Australia Adolescent girls Weight