Body image not always a drag on women's wellbeing

January 31, 2012

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."

Explore further: Women anticipate negative experiences differently to men

Related Stories

Recommended for you

In analyzing a scene, we make the easiest judgments first

September 3, 2015

Psychology researchers who have hypothesized that we classify scenery by following some order of cognitive priorities may have been overlooking something simpler. New evidence suggests that the fastest categorizations our ...

Forensic examiners pass the face matching test

September 1, 2015

The first study to test the skills of FBI agents and other law enforcers who have been trained in facial recognition has provided a reassuring result - they perform better than the average person or even computers on this ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.