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

Women anticipate negative experiences differently to men

August 23, 2011
Men and women differ in the way they anticipate an unpleasant emotional experience, which influences the effectiveness with which that experience is committed to memory, according to new research.

Recommended for you

New study rebuts the claim that antidepressants do not work

August 18, 2017
A theory that has gained considerable attention in international media, including Newsweek and the CBS broadcast 60 minutes, suggests that antidepressant drugs such as the SSRIs do not exert any actual antidepressant effect. ...

Should I stay or should I leave? Untangling what goes on when a relationship is being questioned

August 17, 2017
Knowing whether to stay in or leave a romantic relationship is often an agonizing experience and that ambivalence can have negative consequences for health and well-being.

Kids learn moral lessons more effectively from stories with humans than human-like animals

August 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto found that four to six-year-olds shared more after listening to books with human characters than books with anthropomorphic ...

History of stress increases miscarriage risk, says new review

August 17, 2017
A history of exposure to psychological stress can increase the risk of miscarriage by upto 42 per cent, according to a new review.

Study finds children pay close attention to potentially threatening information, avoid eye contact when anxious

August 17, 2017
We spend a lot of time looking at the eyes of others for social cues – it helps us understand a person's emotions, and make decisions about how to respond to them. We also know that adults avoid eye contact when anxious. ...

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision making

August 16, 2017
If you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his death, would you do it? And should it make any difference if that choice is presented in a language you speak, but isn't your ...

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.