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The Curvy Ideal Silhouette Scale: Measuring Cultural Differences in the Body Shape Ideals of Young U.S. Women

Abstract

Cultural trends in the United States may be shifting toward a curvy body ideal (defined as a body with a small waist and wider hips, such that the waist-to-hip ratio falls at .70 or below). As such, a thorough exploration of the curvy ideal is warranted, but an existing figural scale to explore this construct is lacking. We developed a computer-generated figural scale that assessed the discrepancy between actual versus ideal bodies on a 5 × 5 matrix crossing a 5-point scale of curviness and a 5-point scale of thinness simultaneously. In a modest-sized sample of young U.S. women (n = 319, age range = 18–34), Curvy Ideal Silhouette Scale (CISS) discrepancy scores related to scores on existing measures of body image discrepancies and disordered eating (Study 1a). Relationships between curvy (CDI) and fat (FDI) discrepancy index suggested the thin ideal and curvy ideal may be related, but distinct constructs. CDI scores were associated with decreased endorsement of body disturbance, dissatisfaction, and disordered eating. Finally, the CISS produced adequate 2-week test-retest reliability in a final sample (Study 1b). In all, the CISS shows utility in broadening body ideal research with potential for clinical utility as a component of a multidimensional body image assessment.

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Acknowledgements

Evelyn A. Hunter (ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2925-2116), Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling, Auburn University; Annette S. Kluck, Graduate School, University of Mississippi; Abigail E. Ramon, Primary Care Mental Health Integration, Center for Integrated Health, VA Western NY Healthcare System; Erin Ruff, College of Rehabilitative Sciences, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences; Jade Dario, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling, Auburn University.

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Correspondence to Evelyn A. Hunter.

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Hunter, E.A., Kluck, A.S., Ramon, A.E. et al. The Curvy Ideal Silhouette Scale: Measuring Cultural Differences in the Body Shape Ideals of Young U.S. Women. Sex Roles 84, 238–251 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-020-01161-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-020-01161-x

Keywords

  • Curvy ideal
  • Body ideal
  • Body image
  • Silhouette scale
  • Figural scale