Sex Roles

, Volume 38, Issue 7–8, pp 631–643 | Cite as

Body Image and Self-Esteem: A Comparison of African-American and Caucasian Women

  • Beth L. Molloy
  • Sharon D. Herzberger


The purpose of this study was to assess howwomen's perceptions of themselves and their bodies varyby race/ethnicity and class. One hundred and fourteenfemale students (45 African-American, 69 Caucasian) from two Connecticut community colleges weresurveyed. We predicted that African-American women willreport higher levels of self-esteem and a more positivebody image than Caucasian women. These predictions were supported. Also as predicted,African-American women report possessing more masculinetraits and that men of their race tend less to preferthin, small figured women. Controlling for these“protective factors” substantially reduces therelationship between race/ethnicity and self-concept.African-American women's racial identity and exposure tothe dominant culture did not relate to self-conceptmeasures.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth L. Molloy
  • Sharon D. Herzberger

There are no affiliations available

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