Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 331-345

Association of the Thin Body Ideal, Ambivalent Sexism, and Self-Esteem with Body Acceptance and the Preferred Body Size of College Women in Poland and the United States

  • Gordon B. ForbesAffiliated withMillikin UniversityWarsaw School of Social Psychology
  • , Krystyna DoroszewiczAffiliated withWarsaw School of Social Psychology
  • , Kristin CardAffiliated withMillikin University
  • , Leah Adams-CurtisAffiliated withMillikin University

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A study of body satisfaction in 111 Polish and 83 U.S. college women indicated that when Body Mass Index (BMI) was controlled Polish women had larger perceived body sizes and desired a larger body ideal. The Polish sample had higher scores on the Hostile and Benevolent Sexism scales (Glick & Fiske, 1996), whereas the U.S. sample scored higher on the Internalization scale of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995). Benevolent sexism was related to the acceptance and use of cosmetics in the Polish sample, but not in the U.S. sample. The SATAQ Awareness and Internalization scales were related to low body acceptance in both samples. The Internalization scale was related to discrepancies between the respondents' own bodies and their ideal body types in the U.S. sample but not in the Polish sample. Although the Polish and U.S. samples were more alike than different, sexism was strongly associated with body dissatisfaction in the Polish sample, whereas the SATAQ Internalization scale was strongly associated with body dissatisfaction in the U.S. sample. The results support the hypothesis of globalization of the thin body ideal, illustrate the importance of controlling for BMI in studies of body satisfaction, and demonstrate relationships between sexism, internalization of the thin body ideal, and body dissatisfaction.

body dissatisfaction thin body ideal sexism cross-cultural