Body image not always a drag on women's wellbeing

Deakin University psychology researchers have found that body image isn't always a negative experience for women.

As part of her doctoral research, Rachel Chung from Deakin's School of Psychology is exploring women's experiences of their bodies and how this may be connected to how they feel about themselves in different aspects of their lives.

"The prevailing view on body image is that it is almost normal for women to be dissatisfied with their bodies," Ms Chung said.

"Most research on women's body image focuses on negative aspects, such as women's with their shape and weight, and adverse factors associated with having a poor body image, such as poor self-esteem or an .

"I'm interested in finding out how positive aspects of body image are related to women's sense of well-being."

Around 200 women aged 18 to 76 have already completed the survey for Ms Chung's project.

While past studies have highlighted the negative aspects associated with women's body image, Ms Chung's preliminary findings indicate that body image can also be a positive influence on women's lives.

"How women feel about themselves in general is associated with what they think about their bodies and their toward their ," Ms Chung explained.

"Women who were more accepting of themselves—that is they held positive attitudes towards themselves, accepted their good and bad qualities and past life events—reported that they deliberatively invested in a physically healthy lifestyle.

"The results revealed that for one third of women their body image had a positive impact on their emotional states, eating and exercise and sexual experiences. For one third of women, the impact was negative, and for one third there was no impact of body image on these variables.

"Women's attitudes about their body image were also related to their interpersonal relationships. Specifically, women who had more positive relations with others also reported that their had less impact on their lives."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women More Concerned About Losing Weight Than Men

Apr 28, 2005

More than two decades of research indicates that women are at a higher risk than men for developing problems related to body image and satisfaction. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and University of ...

Recommended for you

What sign language teaches us about the brain

7 hours ago

The world's leading humanoid robot, ASIMO, has recently learnt sign language. The news of this breakthrough came just as I completed Level 1 of British Sign Language (I dare say it took me longer to master signing ...

Why do men prefer nice women?

7 hours ago

People's emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial "sparks" necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second ...

Study reveals how to be socially successful

7 hours ago

Romantic, personal and professional relationships are fraught with danger, but a University of Queensland researcher has found the secret to interacting successfully with others in such settings.

User comments