Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 5–6, pp 331–345 | Cite as

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. Forbes
  • Krystyna Doroszewicz
  • Kristin Card
  • Leah Adams-Curtis
Article

Abstract

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

references

  1. Ackard, D. M., Croll, J. K., & Kearny-Cook, A. (2002). Dieting frequency among college females: Association with eating disorders, body image, and related psychological problems. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 52, 129-136.Google Scholar
  2. Becker, A. E., Burwell, R. A., Gilman, S. E., Herzog, D. B., & Hamburg, P. (2002). Eating behaviours and attitudes following prolonged exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. British Journal of Psychiatry, 180, 509-514.Google Scholar
  3. Betz, N. E., Mintz, L., & Speakmon, G. (1994). Gender differences in the accuracy of self-reported weight. Sex Roles, 30, 543-552.Google Scholar
  4. Bilukha, O. O., & Utermohlen, V. (2002). Internalization of Western standards of appearance, body dissatisfaction and dieting in urban educated Ukrainian females. European Eating Disorders Review, 10, 120-137.Google Scholar
  5. Bostrom, G., & Diderichsen, F. (1997). Socioeconomic differentials in misclassification of height, weight and body mass index based on questionnaire data. International Journal of Epidemiology, 26, 860-866.Google Scholar
  6. Brumberg, J. J. (1997). The body project: An intimate history of American girls. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  7. Catina, A., Boyadjieva, S., & Bergner, M. (1996). Social context, gender identity and eating disorders in Western and Eastern Europe: Preliminary results of a comparative study. European Eating Disorders Review, 4, 100-106.Google Scholar
  8. Catina, A., & Joja, O. (2001). Emerging markets: Submerging women. In M. Nasser, M. A. Katzman, & R. A. Gordon (Eds.), Eating disorders and cultures in transitions (pp. 111-119). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  9. Centers for Disease Control. (2000, May 30). BMIAGE: BMI-for-age charts, 2 to 20 years, LMS parameters and selected smoothed BMI (kilograms/meters squared) percentile by sex and age (data file). Retrieved from http://www. cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/growthcharts/datafiles.htmGoogle Scholar
  10. Crandall, C. S. (1995). Do parents discriminate against their heavyweight daughters? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 724-735.Google Scholar
  11. Cusumano, D. L., & Thompson, J. K. (1997). Body image and body shape ideals in magazines: Exposure, awareness, and internalization. Sex Roles, 37, 701-721.Google Scholar
  12. Eagly, A. H., & Mladinic, A. (1989). Gender stereotypes and attitudes toward women and men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 543-558.Google Scholar
  13. Eagly, A. H., & Mladinic, A. (1993). Are people prejudiced against women? Some answers from research on attitudes, gender stereotypes, and judgments of competence. In W. Strobe & M. Newstone (Eds.), European review of social psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 1-35). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Eisler, I. (2001) Commentary 1. In M. Nasser, M. A. Katzman, & R. A. Gordon (Eds.), Eating disorders and cultures in transitions (pp. 120-123). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  15. Fallon, A. E., & Rozin, P. (1985). Sex differences in perceptions of desirable body shape. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 94, 102-105.Google Scholar
  16. Feingold, A., & Mazzella, R. (1998). Gender differences in body image are increasing. Psychological Science, 9, 190-198.Google Scholar
  17. Forbes, G. B. (2001). College students with tattoos and piercings: Motives, family experiences, personality factors, and perception by others. Psychological Reports, 89, 774-786.Google Scholar
  18. Forbes, G. B., Adams-Curtis, L. E., Rade, B., & Jaberg, P. (2001). Body dissatisfaction in women and men: The role of gender-typing and self-esteem. Sex Roles, 44, 461-484.Google Scholar
  19. Franzoi, S. L. (2001). Is female body esteem shaped by benevolent sexism? Sex Roles, 44, 177-188.Google Scholar
  20. Franzoi, S. L., & Shields, S. A. (1984). The Body Esteem Scale: A convergent and discriminant validity study. Journal of Personality Assessment, 50, 24-31.Google Scholar
  21. Garner, D. M. (1997, January/February). The 1997 body image survey results. Psychology Today, pp. 30-44, 74–75, 78, 80, 84.Google Scholar
  22. Garner, D. M., Garfinkel, P. E., Schwartz, D., & Thompson, M. (1980). Cultural expectations of thinness in women. Psychological Reports, 47, 483-491.Google Scholar
  23. Gilbert, S., & Thompson, J. K. (1996). Feminist explanations of the development of eating disorders: Common themes, research findings, and methodological issues. Clinical Psychology: Theory and Practice, 3, 183-202.Google Scholar
  24. Glick, P., Diebold, J., Bailey-Werner, B., & Zhu, L. (1997). The two faces of Adam: Ambivalent sexism and polarized attitudes toward women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 1323-1333.Google Scholar
  25. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 491-512.Google Scholar
  26. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1997). Hostile and benevolent sexism: Measuring ambivalent sexist attitudes toward women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 119-135.Google Scholar
  27. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2001). An ambivalent alliance: Hostile and benevolent sexism as complementary justifications for gender inequality. American Psychologist, 56, 109-118.Google Scholar
  28. Glick, P., Fiske, S. T., Maladinic, A., Saiz, J. L., Abrams, D., Masser, B., Adetoun, B., et al. (2000). Beyond prejudice as simple antipathy: Hostile and benevolent sexism across cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 763-775.Google Scholar
  29. Gordon, R. A. (2000). Eating disorders: Anatomy of a social epidemic (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Gordon, R. A. (2001). Eating disorders East and West: A culture-bound syndrome unbound. In M. Nasser, M. A. Katzman, & R. A. Gordon (Eds.), Eating disorders and cultures in transitions (pp. 1-16). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  31. Griffiths, R. A., Beumont, P. J. V., Russell, J., Schotte, D., Thornton, C., Touyz, S., et al. (1999). Sociocultural attitudes toward appearance in dieting disordered and nondieting disordered subjects. European Eating Disorders Review, 7, 193-203.Google Scholar
  32. Grogan, S. (1999). Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women, and children. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Gupta, M. A., Chaturvedi, S. K., Chandarana, P. C., & Johnson, A. M. (2001). Weight-related body image concerns among 18–24-year-old woman residing in Canada and India: An empirical comparative study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 50, 193-198.Google Scholar
  34. Harrison, K., & Cantor, J. (1997). The relationship between media consumption and eating disorders. Journal of Communication, 47, 40-67.Google Scholar
  35. Heinberg, L. J., Thompson, J. K., & Stormer, S. (1995). Development and validation of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 17, 81-89.Google Scholar
  36. Henderson-King, E., & Henderson-King, D. (1997). Media effects on women's body esteem: Social and individual difference factors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 399-417.Google Scholar
  37. Holm, S. (1979). A simple sequentially rejective multiple test procedure. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, 6, 65-70.Google Scholar
  38. Irving, L. M. (1990). Mirror images: Effects of the standard of beauty on the self-and body-esteem of women exhibiting varying levels of bulimic symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 230-242.Google Scholar
  39. Jaberg, P. (2001). The influence of gender roles and self-esteem on body image: The mediating effect of self-esteem. Unpublished master's thesis, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.Google Scholar
  40. Jacobson, B. H., & DeBock, D. H. (2001). Comparison of body mass index and self-reported versus measured height and weight. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 92, 128-132.Google Scholar
  41. Lamb, C. S., Jackson, L. A., Cassiday, P. B., & Priest, D. J. (1993). Body figure preferences of men and women: A comparison of two generations. Sex Roles, 28, 345-358.Google Scholar
  42. Lee, S. (2001). Fat phobia in anorexia nervosa: Whose obsession is it? In M. Nasser, M. A. Katzman, & R. A. Gordon (Eds.), Eating disorders and cultures in transitions (pp. 40-54). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  43. Lee, S., & Lee, A. M. (2000). Disordered eating in three communities of China: A comparative study of female high school students in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and rural Hunan. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 27, 317-327.Google Scholar
  44. Levine, M., & Smolak, L. (1998). The mass media and disordered eating: Implications for primary prevention. In W. Vandereycken & G. Noordenbos (Eds.), Prevention of eating disorders (pp. 23-56). London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  45. Miller, C. T., & Downey, K. T. (1999). A meta-analysis of heavyweight and self-esteem. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 68-94.Google Scholar
  46. Morris, A., Cooper, T., & Cooper, P. J. (1989). The changing shape of female fashion models. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 8, 593-596.Google Scholar
  47. Morry, M. M., & Staska, S. L. (2001). Magazine exposure: Internalization, self-objectification, eating attitudes, and body dissatisfaction in male and female university students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 33, 269-279.Google Scholar
  48. Nasser, M. (1997). Culture and weight consciousness. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Nasser, M., Katzman, M. A., & Gordon, R. A. (2001). Eating disorders and cultures in transitions. New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  50. Palta, M., Prineas, R. J., Berman, R., & Hannan, P. (1982). Comparison of self-reported and measured height and weight. American Journal of Epidemiology, 115, 223-230.Google Scholar
  51. Papezova, H. (2002). Eating disorders across Europe: History of services for eating disorders with regard to political and women's situational changes in the Czech Republic. European Eating Disorders Review, 10, 79-84.Google Scholar
  52. Polce-Lynch, M., Myers, B. J., Kliewer, W., & Kilmartin, C. (2001). Adolescent self-esteem and gender: Exploring relations to sexual harassment, body image, media influence, and emotional expression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 225-244.Google Scholar
  53. Polivy, J., & Herman, C. P. (2002). Causes of eating disorders. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 187-213.Google Scholar
  54. Rathner, G. (2001). Post-communism and the marketing of the thin ideal. In M. Nasser, M. A. Katzman, & R. A. Gordon (Eds.), Eating disorders and cultures in transitions (pp. 93-104). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  55. Rieger, E., Touyz, S. W., Swain, T., & Beumont, P. J. V. (2000). Cross-cultural research on anorexia nervosa: Assumptions regarding the role of body weight. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29, 205-215.Google Scholar
  56. Rodin, J., Silberstein, L. R., & Striegel-Moore, R. H. (1984). Women and weight: A normative discontent. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation: Vol. 32. Psychology and gender (pp. 267-307). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  57. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Rozin, P., & Fallon, A. (1988). Body image, attitudes toward weight, and misperceptions of figure preferences of the opposite sex: A comparison of men and women in two generations. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 342-345.Google Scholar
  59. Secord, P. F., & Jourard, S. M. (1953). The appraisal of body-cathexis: Body cathexis and the self. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 17, 343-347.Google Scholar
  60. Silberstein, L. R., Striegel-Moore, R. H., Timko, C., & Rodin, J. (1988). Behavioral and psychological implications of body dissatisfaction: Do men and women differ? Sex Roles, 19, 219-232.Google Scholar
  61. Silverstein, B., & Perlik, D. (1995). The cost of competence: Why inequality causes depression, eating disorders, and illness in women. New York: Oxford University.Google Scholar
  62. Smolak, L., Levine, M. P., & Thompson, J. K. (2001). The use of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire with middle school boys and girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29, 216-223.Google Scholar
  63. Stice, E., Schupak-Neuberg, E., Shaw, H. E., & Stein, R. I. (1994). Relation of media exposure to eating disorder symptomatology: An examination of mediating mechanisms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 836-840.Google Scholar
  64. Stice, E., & Shaw, H. E. (1994). Adverse effects of the media portrayed thin-ideal on women and linkages to bulimic symptomatology. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13, 288-308.Google Scholar
  65. Striegel-Moore, R. H. (1997). Risk factors for eating disorders. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 817, 98-109.Google Scholar
  66. Stunkard, A. J., Sorenson, T., & Schlusinger, F. (1983). Use of the Danish adoption register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. Kety, L. P. Rowland, R. L. Sidman, & S. W. Matthysse (Eds.), The genetics of neurological and psychiatric disorders (pp. 115-120). New York: Raven Press.Google Scholar
  67. Thompson, J. K., & Heinberg, L. J. (1999). The media's influence on body image disturbance and eating disorders: We've reviled them, now can we rehabilitate them? Journal of Social Issues, 55, 339-353.Google Scholar
  68. Thornton, B., & Maurice, J. (1997). Physique contrast effect: Adverse impact of idealized body images for women. Sex Roles, 37, 433-439.Google Scholar
  69. Tiggermann, M., & Rüütel, E. (2001). A cross-cultural comparison of body dissatisfaction in Estonian and Australian young adults and its relationship to media exposure. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 736-742.Google Scholar
  70. Vaughan, K. K., & Fouts, G. T. (2003). Changes in television and magazine exposure and eating disorder symptomatology. Sex Roles, 49, 313-320.Google Scholar
  71. Wang, Z., Patterson, C. M., & Hills, A. P. (2002). A comparison of self-reported and measured height, weight and BMI in Australian adolescents. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 26, 473-478.Google Scholar
  72. Wilcox, K., & Laird, J. D. (2000). The impact of media images of super-slender women on women's self-esteem: Identification, social comparison, and self-perception. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 278-286.Google Scholar
  73. Wiseman, C. V., Gray, J. J., Mosimann, J. E., & Ahrens, A. H. (1992). Cultural expectations of thinness in women: An update. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 11, 85-89.Google Scholar
  74. Wlodarczyk-Bisaga, K., & Dolan, B. (1996). A two-stage epidemiological study of abnormal eating attitudes and their prospective risk factors in Polish schoolgirls. Psychological Medicine, 26, 1021-1032.Google Scholar
  75. Wlodarczyk-Bisaga, K., Dolan, B., McCluskey, S., & Lacey, H. (1995). Disordered eating behaviour and attitudes toward weight and shape in Polish women. European Eating Disorders Review, 3, 1-12.Google Scholar
  76. Wolf, N. (1991). The beauty myth: How images of beauty are used against women. New York: Morrow.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon B. Forbes
    • 1
    • 3
  • Krystyna Doroszewicz
    • 2
  • Kristin Card
    • 1
  • Leah Adams-Curtis
    • 1
  1. 1.Millikin UniversityDecatur
  2. 2.Warsaw School of Social PsychologyWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Warsaw School of Social PsychologyWarsawPoland

Personalised recommendations