The purpose of this study was to investigate Choate’s (2005) theoretical model of body image resilience by examining the association among protective factors and body image. First-year college women (N = 301) from two universities in the United States (one in the South and one in the Northeast) completed questionnaires assessing five protective factors. The hypothesized model fit the data well. As predicted, high family support; low levels of perceived sociocultural pressure from family, friends, and media regarding the importance of achieving a thin-and beautiful ideal; rejection of the superwoman ideal; positive physical self-concept; and active coping skills contributed to a woman’s overall wellness, which was associated with a more positive body image. Results can inform prevention for young women at risk for eating disorders and suggest specific counseling interventions to improve body dissatisfaction and initial maladaptive eating practices.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adams, T., Bezner, J., & Steinhardt, M. (1997). The conceptualization and measurement of perceived wellness: Integrating balance across and within dimensions. American Journal of Health Promotion, 11, 208–218.
American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx
Barker, E. T., & Galambos, N. L. (2003). Body dissatisfaction of adolescent girls and boys: Risk and resource factors. Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 141–165. doi:10.1177/0272431603023002002.
Barr Taylor, C., Bryson, S., Celio Doyle, A. A., Luce, K. H., Cunning, D., Abascal, L. B., & Rockwell Wilfley, D. E. (2006). The adverse effects of negative comments about weight and shape from family and siblings on women at high risk for eating disorders. Pediatrics, 118, 731–738. doi:10.1542/peds.2005-1806.
Bearman, S. K., Presnell, K., Martinez, E., & Stice, E. (2006). The skinny on body dissatisfaction: A longitudinal study of adolescent girls and boys. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 229–241. doi:10.1007/s10964-005-9010-9.
Bishop, J. B., Bauer, K. W., & Baker, E. T. (1998). A survey of counseling needs of male and female college students: Perfectionism and adult autonomy or intimacy struggles, along with moderate distress and impairment in social relationships. Journal of College Student Development, 39, 205–210.
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267–283. doi:10.1037//0022-35184.108.40.2067.
Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (2002). Future challenges for body image theory, research, and clinical practice. In T. F. Cash & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice (pp. 509–516). New York: Guilford Press.
Choate, L. J. (2005). Toward a theoretical model of body image resilience. Journal of Counseling and Development, 83, 320–330.
Choate, L. H. (2008). Girls’ and women’s wellness: Contemporary counseling issues and Interventions. Alexandria: American Counseling Association Press.
Cook-Cottone, C., & Phelps, L. (2003). Body dissatisfaction in college women: Identification of risk and protective factors to guide college counseling practices. Journal of College Counseling, 6, 80–89.
Cooley, E., & Toray, T. (2001). Disordered eating in college freshman women: A prospective study. Journal of American College Health, 49, 229–235. doi:10.1080/07448480109596308.
de Bruin, A. P., Woertman, L., Bakker, F. C., & Oudejans, R. R. D. (2009). Weight-related sport motives and girls’ body image, weight-control behaviors, and self-esteem. Sex Roles, 60, 628–641. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9562-8.
Dunton, G. F., Jamner, M. S., & Cooper, D. M. (2003). Physical self-concept in adolescent girls: Behavioral and physiological correlates. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74, 360–365.
Franko, D. L., Thompson, D., Bauserman, R., Affenito, S. G., & Striegel-Moore, R. H. (2008). What’s love got to do with it? Family cohesion and healthy eating behaviors in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 41, 360–367. doi:10.1002/eat.20517.
Fredrickson, B. L., Roberts, T.-A., Noll, S. M., Quinn, D. M., & Twenge, J. M. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 269–284. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.119.
Fulkerson, A., Strauss, J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Boutelle, K. (2007). Correlates of psychosocial well-being among overweight adolescents: The role of the family. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 181–186. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.75.1.181.
Gillen, M. M., & Lefkowitz, E. S. (2006). Gender role development and body image among male and female first year college students. Sex Roles, 55, 25–37. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9057-4.
Green, S. P., & Pritchard, M. E. (2003). Predicting body image dissatisfaction in adult men and women. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 215–222. doi:10.2224/sbp.2003.31.3.215.
Groesz, L. M., Levine, M. P., & Murnen, S. K. (2002). The effect of experimental presentation of thin media images on body satisfaction: A meta-analytic review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31, 1–16. doi:10.1002/eat.10005.
Harvey, S. B., Hotopf, M., Øverland, S., & Mykletun, A. (2010). Physical activity and common mental disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 197, 357–364. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.109.075176.
Haworth-Hoeppner, S. (2000). The critical shapes of body image: The role of culture and family in the production of eating disorders. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 212–227. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00212.x.
Hinshaw, S. (2009). The triple bind: Saving our teenage girls from today's pressures. New York: Ballantine Books.
Jaffee, L., & Lutter, J. M. (1995). Adolescent girls: Factors influencing low and high body image. Melpomene Journal, 14, 14–22.
James, K. A., Phelps, L., & Bross, A. L. (2001). Body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and self-esteem in African American college females. Psychology in the Schools, 38, 491–496. doi:10.1002/pits.1037.
Kearney-Cooke, A. (2002). Familial influences on body image development. In T. F. Cash & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice (pp. 99–107). New York: Guilford Press.
Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.
Levitt, D. H. (2004). Drive for thinness and fear of fat among college women: Implications for practice and assessment. Journal of College Counseling, 7, 109–117.
MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., & Williams, J. (2004). Confidence limits for the indirect effect: Distribution of the product and resampling methods. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39, 99–128.
Marsh, H. W., Richards, G. E., Johnson, S., Roche, L., & Tremayne, P. (1994). Physical Self-Description Questionnaire: Psychometric properties and a multi trait multi method analysis of relations to existing instruments. Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16, 270–305.
McFarlane, T., McCabe, R., Jarry, J., Olmsted, M., & Polivy, J. (2001). Weight-related and shape-related self-evaluation in eating-disordered and non-eating-disordered women. International Journal Of Eating Disorders, 29, 328–335. doi:10.1002/eat.1026.
McKinley, N. M. (1999). Women and objectified body consciousness: Mothers’ and daughters’ body experience in cultural, developmental, and familial context. Developmental Psychology, 35, 760–769. doi:10.1037/0012-1618.104.22.1680.
Mendelson, B., Mendelson, M., & White, D. (2001). Body-Esteem Scale for adolescents and adults. Journal of Personality Assessment, 76, 90–106. doi:10.1207/S15327752JPA7601_6.
Mensinger, J. L., Bonifazi, D. Z., & LaRosa, J. (2007). Perceived gender role prescriptions in schools, the superwoman ideal, and disordered eating among adolescent girls. Sex Roles, 57, 557–568. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9281-6.
Mintz, L. B., & O’ Halloran, M. S. (2000). The eating attitudes test: Validation with DSM-IV eating disorder criteria. Journal of Personal Assessment, 74, 489–503. doi:10.1207/S15327752JPA7403_11.
Murnen, S., Smolak, L., & Levine, M. (1994). Development of a scale to measure adherence to the superwoman construct. Unpublished Manuscript, Kenyon College, OH
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998-2010). Mplus user’s guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.
Myers, J. E., & Sweeney, T. J. (Eds.). (2005). Counseling for wellness: Theory, research, and practice. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Phares, V., Steinberg, A., & Thompson, J. (2004). Gender differences in peer and parental influences: Body image disturbance, self-worth, and psychological functioning in preadolescent children. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 421–429. doi:10.1023/B:JOYO.0000037634.18749.20.
Polivy, J., & Herman, C. P. (2002). Causes of eating disorders. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 187–213. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135103.
Procidano, M. E., & Heller, K. (1983). Measures of perceived social support from friends and from family: Three validation studies. American Journal of Community Psychology, 11, 1–24. doi:10.1007/BF00898416.
Rodin, J., Silberstein, L. R., & Streigel-Moore, R. H. (1985). Women and weight: A normative discontent. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Psychology and gender: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1984 (pp. 267–307). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Schwitzer, A. M., Rodriguez, L. E., Thomas, C., & Salimi, L. (2001). The eating disorder NOS diagnostic profile among college women. Journal of American College Health, 49, 157–166. doi:10.1080/07448480109596298.
Schwitzer, A., Hatfield, T., Jones, A. R., Duggan, M. H., Jurgens, J., & Winninger, A. (2008). Confirmation among college women: The eating disorders not otherwise specified diagnostic profile. Journal of American College Health, 56, 607–615. doi:10.3200/JACH.56.6.607-616.
Shroff, H., & Thompson, J. K. (2006). The tripartite influence model of body image and eating disturbance: A replication with adolescent girls. Body Image, 3, 17–23. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.10.004.
Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7, 422–445. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.7.4.422.
Sim, L., & Zeman, J. (2006). The contribution of emotion regulation to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in early adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 219–228. doi:10.1007/s10964-005-9003-8.
Sinclair, S. L., & Myers, J. E. (2004). The relationship between objectified body consciousness and wellness in a group of college women. Journal of College Counseling, 7, 150–161.
Steiner-Adair, C. (1986). The body politic: Normal female adolescent development and the development of eating disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 14, 95–114.
Stice, E. (2002). Risk and maintenance factors for eating pathology: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 825–848. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.128.5.825.
Stice, E., & Bearman, S. (2001). Body-image and eating disturbances prospectively predict increases in depressive symptoms in adolescent girls: A growth curve analysis. Developmental Psychology, 37, 597–607. doi:10.1037/0012-1622.214.171.1247.
Stice, E., & Presnell, K. (2007). The body project: Promoting body acceptance and preventing eating disorders: Facilitators Guide. New York: Oxford University Press.
Stice, E., & Shaw, H. (2003). Prospective relations of body image, eating, and affective disturbances to smoking onset in adolescent girls: How Virginia slims. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 129–135. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.71.1.129.
Stice, E., & Whitenton, K. (2002). Risk factors for body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls: A longitudinal investigation. Developmental Psychology, 38, 669–678. doi:10.1037/0012-16126.96.36.1999.
Striegel-Moore, R. H., & Cachelin, F. M. (1999). Body image concerns and disordered eating in adolescent girls: Risk and protective factors. In N. G. Johnson, M. C. Roberts, & J. Worell (Eds.), Beyond appearance: A new look at adolescent girls (pp. 85–108). Washington: American Psychological Association.
Thome, J., & Espelage, D. L. (2004). Relations among exercise, coping, disordered eating, and psychological health among college students. Eating Behaviors, 5, 337–351. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2004.04.002.
Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L. J., Altabe, M. N., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (1999). Exacting beauty: Theory, assessment and treatment of body image disturbance. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
VanBoven, A. M., & Espelage, D. L. (2006). Depressive symptoms, coping strategies, and disordered eating among college women. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84, 341–348.
About this article
Cite this article
Snapp, S., Hensley-Choate, L. & Ryu, E. A Body Image Resilience Model for First-Year College Women. Sex Roles 67, 211–221 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0163-1
- Body image
- Protective factors
- First-year college women
- Young women