Figure Preference, Body Dissatisfaction, and Body Distortion in Adolescence Rachel Libben Mary Tassone Adrienne Hudak
Purpose of the study • The study evaluates gender and age effects on figure preference, body dissatisfaction, and body distortion that could lead to eating related problems among adolescents. • As early as sixth grade, early maturing females who are typically heavier than their later developing peers are significantly dissatisfied with their bodies. • Females as young as nine years old express concern about being or becoming overweight.
Purpose continued… • Even though during puberty, there is a natural increase in body fat, adolescent girls desire to attain the cultural standards of a thin body and attractiveness. • The article wants to expand upon the current research by looking at body dissatisfaction and distortion in relation to behaviors/attitudes characteristic of young people with eating disorders. • With these issues being better understood, prevention and treatment programs can be advanced.
Methods: Subjects • 454 students • 269 females; 185 males • Ages 12-18 in grades 7-8 or high-school 9-12 • 1 urban and 2 suburban school districts near Buffalo, New York
Methods: Measures • Students were given a sheet of paper with 9 figure drawing that were designed to reflect average pubertal development for this age group. • Students were asked to place an X on the figure which best represented his or her own current status and a O on the figure that best represented his or her ideal preference. • Teachers evaluated these results and rated students on their current status in order to see if adolescents perceived themselves as heavier or thinner than they actually were.
Methods: measures • The Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2) was administered to assess the relationship of body dissatisfaction and distortion to behavioral/psychological dimensions related to eating disorders. • The EDI-2 measures 11 traits theoretically related to eating disorders. • The Eating Disorder Inventory-2 was administered to assess the relationship of body dissatisfaction and distortion to behavioral/psychological dimensions related to eating disorders. • Table 1: Eating Disorder Inventory -2 Scale Descriptions
Table 1: eating disorder inventory-2 scale descriptions Scale Description Drive for thinness (DT) Preoccupation with weight Bulimia (B) Tendency to binge & purge Body Dissatisfaction (BD) Unhappiness with thighs, hips, etc Ineffectiveness (I) Feelings of inadequacy, insecurity Perfectionism (P) Unrealistic standards of behavior Interpersonal distrust (ID) Avoiding intimate relationships Interoceptive awareness (IA) Apprehension about emotions Maturity fears (MF) Yearning for childhood Asceticism (A) Virtue via denial or restraint Impulse regulation (IR) Impulsivity and hostility Social insecurity (SI) Social self-doubt and unhappiness
Methods: procedures • The researchers attended 19 physical education, psychology, or sociology classes and requested volunteers for a study in “Body-Figure Preferences.” • Students were told that they had 5 minutes to complete a questionnaire, school personnel would not be allowed to see their individual responses, and all response sheets would be destroyed after data was used. • After collecting the figure rating sheets, researchers asked students in the 5 psychology/sociology classes to complete a 91-item self-report survey (EDI-2). • Body dissatisfaction was calculated by subtracting a students ideal figure preference from his or her current status rating based on the teachers evaluation.
results • ANOVA performed to distinguish between gender, age (middle vs high school), and across three areas of ideal figure preference, body dissatisfaction, and body distortion • Ideal Figure Preference and Body Dissatisfaction • Females chose a body figure noticebly thinner than their build; males chose a slightly heavier build • Females reported lower body ideal and higher body dissatisfaction • High school females expressed a much higher body dissatisfaction than middle school females • Positive linear relationship between age and body dissatifaction found with femailes from age 12-18
Results cont’d • Body Distortion • Both females and males reported themselves heavier than adult rated • High school females had higher levels of body distortion, similar to body dissatisfaction • When curivlinear pattern added in, females showed significant body distortion in early high school, then decreasing around ages 17-18 • Attitudes/Behaviors Characteristic of Eating Disorders • EDI-2 data analyzed with Bonferroni method • Crossed 11 variables of EDI-2 with ideal figure preference, body dissatisfaction and body distortion • No significance found with males • Females were significant in Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction
Discussion • Possible Interventions • Females desire much thinner figures, as males desire more muscular figures • Concerns arise if Western societies body image ideals are adapted into deitary lifestyles • Early interventions suggested as a means to avoid health concerns for young women especially regarding potential eating disorders, etc. • Study Limitations • Could focus further on specific factors, such as personal shape preference, cultural mores, percentage of body fat, etc. • Ideal to include ethnic/racial profiles along with different SES subgroups (other than white middle class) • Could also review specifics in the media as approach; specific actors, actresses, models for review over the figure chart
Discussion questions • Dove video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei6JvK0W60I • The article talks about how adolescents body images are affected by cultural ideals. What are your thoughts and reactions to this? • Think back to junior high. Do you remember any prevention programs? How this topic affected you or other people? • How does this topic affect your respected field or program?