The aim was to determine the differences in parents' perceptions of boys' and girls' body shapes and the explanations for the emphasis on body shape care of children. Subjects were low-income parents (n = 158) of preschoolers attending preschools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Parental perceptions of children's body shapes were assessed based on their rankings (scale of 1 to 7) of four attributes (ideal, healthy, fat and thin) for boy and girl figures. Parental responses to five questions on the importance of body shape were also obtained. Parental rankings of ideal and healthy body shapes were significantly lower for girls than boys (p < 0.001). However, mothers' and fathers' rankings of boys' and girls' body shapes were not significantly different. for both boys and girls, parental ratings for ideal body shape were significantly lower than for healthy body shape (p < 0.001). The majority of parents indicated that children's body shape is important for their future health, self enhancement, social interaction and career. With the increasing prevalence of body dissatisfaction among Malaysian children, these findings contribute to the understanding of parental roles in the development of body image and perhaps, in the etiology of body dissatisfaction among children.
Recent research has shown facial adiposity (apparent weight in the face) to be a significant predictor of both attractiveness and health, thus making it an important determinant of mate selection. Studies looking at the relationship between attractiveness and health have shown that individuals differentiate between the two by preferring a lower weight for attractiveness than for health in female faces. However, these studies have either been correlational studies, or have investigated weight perceived from only the face. These differences have been discussed with regard to sociocultural factors such as pressure from parents, peers and also media, which has been seen to have the highest influence. While exposure to media images has been shown to influence women's own-body image, no study has yet directly tested the influence of these factors on people's preferred weight in other women's bodies. Here we examine how a short exposure to images of models influences men's and women's judgments of the most healthy looking and attractive BMI in Malaysian Chinese women's bodies by comparing differences in preferences (for attractiveness and health) between groups exposed to images of models of varying attractiveness and body weight. Results indicated that participants preferred a lower weight for attractiveness than for health. Further, women's but not men's preferred BMI for attractiveness, but not health, was influenced by the type of media images to which they were exposed, suggesting that short term exposure to model images affect women's perceptions of attractiveness but not health.
Although relatively little is known about ethnic differences in men's drive for muscularity, recent theoretical developments suggest that ethnic minority men may desire greater muscularity to contest their positions of relative subordinate masculinity. This study tested this hypothesis in a sample of 185 White, 180 Black British, and 182 South Asian British men. Participants completed self-report measures of drive for muscularity, need for power, adherence to traditional cultural values, and ethnic group affiliation. Taking into account between-group differences in body mass index, results indicated that White men had significantly lower drive for muscularity than Black and South Asian men, who were not significantly different from each other. In addition, greater need for power was significantly associated with higher drive for muscularity in ethnic minority, but not White, men. Greater adherence to traditional cultural values, but not ethnic group affiliation, was associated with lower drive for muscularity in all ethnic groups. These results suggest that ethnic minority men may desire greater muscularity as a means of negotiating masculinity and attendant ideals of appearance.
Introduction: Female students are thought to be more negatively impacted by body image ideals and often more susceptible to various eating related disorders compared to men. A previous study using a sample of female students in Malaysia did not identify whether the increase in susceptibility to eating disorders can be explained by the level of body image acceptance.
Aim: To identify the prevalence of depression and susceptibility to eating disorders among a sample of 206 female students in one of the private universities in Malaysia and explore the relationship between depression, body image and susceptibility to eating disorders. In addition, this study aimed to determine whether depression is a mediator between body image and susceptibility to eating disorders among female college students.
Materials and Methods: The Body Image Acceptance and Action Questionnaire were used to assess body image acceptance, the Patient Health Questionnaire to measure depression and the Eating Attitude Test- 26 was used to assess susceptibility to eating disorders.
Results: The results showed that 65.5% (n=135) of the students were depressed and 6.3% (n=13) were susceptible to eating disorders. There was a significant positive relationship between depression and eating disorders and a negative relationship between body image and depression as well as between body image and eating disorder. Further, the regression model showed that depression was partially mediating the effect of body image on eating disorders.
Conclusion: Body image and depression contribute to eating disorders and treating depression could reduce susceptibility to eating disorders.
Keywords: Unhealthy body perception, Psychological problems, Relationship between body image and eating disorder
Body image plays an important role in the management of body weight, especially among female adolescents. This study examined the differences in body image perception, weight management knowledge, eating behaviour and physical activity between overweight and normal weight Malaysian female adolescents. Body mass index screening was done on 588 secondary school students to identify overweight (OW) and normal weight (NW) subjects. A BMI-for-age of => 85th percentile and between => 5th and <85th percentile were used as cut-offs for identifying suitable subjects of overweight and normal weight, respectively. Fifty girls identified as being OW were matched for age and ethnicity with 50 NW students. Subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire on demographics, eating behaviour and physical activity, a weight management knowledge inventory (WMKI) and the Body Silhouette Chart. The study sample comprised Malays (40%), Chinese (30%) and Indians (30%) with a mean age of 14.76 ± 1.15 years. The majority of them were from families with a monthly household income of less than RM1,000. Significantly more NW subjects (χ2=6.112, p=0.013) than OW subjects had incorrect perception of their current body weight status. The WMKI revealed that more OW subjects (64%) than NW subjects (52%) had a low level of weight management knowledge. Eating behaviour patterns were not significantly different between OW and NW subjects, but more OW subjects skipped one or more daily meals as compared to their NW counterparts (χ2=0.174, p=0.010). Physical activity patterns were similar in both groups. Healthy eating and physical activity promotion programmes in schools should include sound weight management practices.
Questionnaire: Figure Rating Scale of Stunkard; Weight Management Knowledge Inventory (WMKI)
The dynamic flexibility of body representation has been highlighted through numerous lines of research that range from clinical studies reporting disorders of body ownership, to experimentally induced somatic illusions that have provided evidence for the embodiment of manipulated representations and even fake limbs. While most studies have reported that enlargement of body parts alters somatic perception, and that these can be more readily embodied, shrunken body parts have not been found to consistently alter somatic experiences, perhaps due to reduced feelings of ownership over smaller body parts. Over two experiments, we aimed to investigate the mechanisms responsible for altered somatic representations following exposure to both enlarged and shrunken body parts. Participants were given the impression that their hand and index finger were either longer or shorter than veridical length and asked to judge veridical finger length using online and offline size estimation tasks, as well as to report the degree of ownership towards the distorted finger and hand representations. Ownership was claimed over all distorted representations of the hand and finger and no differences were seen across ownership ratings, while the online and offline measurements of perceived size demonstrated differing response patterns. These findings suggest that ownership towards manipulated body representations is more bidirectional than previously thought and also suggest differences in perceived body representation with respect to the method of measurement suggesting that online and offline tasks may tap into different aspects of body representation.
Five studies were conducted to understand the impact of nature exposure on body image. In three studies using different designs and outcome measures, British university students were exposed to photographs of natural or built environments. Results indicated that exposure to images of natural, but not built, environments resulted in improved state body image. In Study 4, British community participants went on a walk in a natural or built environment, with results indicating that the walk in a natural environment resulted in significantly higher state body appreciation, whereas the walk in a built environment resulted in significantly lower scores. In Study 5, British participants were recruited as they were entering a designed green space on their own volition. Results indicated that spending time in the green space led to improved state body appreciation. These results indicate that exposure to isomorphic or in-situ natural environments has positive effects on state body image.
Previous work has shown that exposure to images of nature results in elevated state body appreciation, but static images may lack ecological validity. Here, we examined the impact of exposure to short films of simulated, first-person walks in natural or built environments. Thirty-six university students completed a measure of state body appreciation before and after watching films of either a walk in a natural or a built environment created specifically for the present study. Two weeks later, they completed the same task but watched the other film type. Results indicated that exposure to the film of a natural environment resulted in significantly elevated state body appreciation (d = 0.66). There was no significant change in state body appreciation following exposure to the film of the built environment (d = 0.14). These findings suggest that exposure to films depicting the natural environment may promote immediate, moderate-sized improvements in state body image.
Perfectionistic self-presentation refers to a desire to create an image of flawlessness in the eyes of the others and has been associated with more negative body image. We extended previous research by examining associations between perfectionistic self-presentation and breast size dissatisfaction, and also examined whether motherhood status moderated this association. A total of 484 Italian women (age M = 40.39, SD = 13.73; mothers n = 53.9%) completed measures of perfectionistic self-presentation (perfectionistic self-promotion, nondisplay of imperfection, and nondisclosure of imperfection) and breast size dissatisfaction. Preliminary analyses indicated that a majority of the sample (69.2%) reported breast size dissatisfaction, with 44.4% and 24.4% desiring larger and smaller breasts, respectively, than they currently had. Only perfectionistic self-promotion and nondisplay of imperfection were significantly correlated with breast size dissatisfaction. Both associations were additionally moderated by motherhood status, with associations being significant in non-mothers but not in mothers. Our findings suggest that motherhood may help decouple the link between perfectionistic self-presentation and breast size dissatisfaction. Future studies should assess whether this effect is due to an enhanced maternal view of breasts that emphasises nurturing and biological functions or a result of weaker investment in sociocultural norms on physical appearance.
Preferred body sizes appear to decrease markedly with increasing exposure to contemporäry notions of slimness and economic modernity, and reduce even further in industrial settings as socio-economic status increases. Recently a study examining physical attractiveness preferences in Britain and Malaysia, shows that preference for slim ideals varies according to socio-economic status. Malaysians in
Britain and Kuala Lumpur preferred slimmer female bodies than observers in semiurban Kota Kinabalu, who in turn preferred slimmer figures than rural observers in East Malaysia. This study has important implications for the study of body image and eating disorders in Malaysia.
Procidentia is uncommon condition altering quality of life of young and nulliparous women. Its management poses significant dilemma and challenges as its associated body image, fertility and sexuality issues. Uterine preservation surgery described by Archibald Donald in 1888 known as Manchester -Fothergill procedure seems best option as alternative to vaginal hysterectomy. Despite its increasing popularity among surgeons and patients, robust clinical evidence is needed. We report a case of recurrent procidentia in a young nulliparous woman who had Manchester repair following vaginal sacrospinous hysteropexy. We concluded that Manchester repair is a useful and safe alternative for uterine-preserving technique.
Research on positive body image has infrequently considered sexual minority orientations beyond lesbians, gay men, and bisexual persons. Indeed, there is no existing research on the relationships between body image and asexuality, which refers to a lack of sexual attraction to anyone or anything. In two studies, we rectified this by examining associations between asexuality - operationalised as a continuous construct - and indices of positive body image. In Study 1, 188 Britons from the community completed measures of asexuality and body appreciation. Once the effects of self-identified sexual orientation, relationship status, and body mass index (BMI) had been considered, asexuality was found to be significantly and negatively associated with body appreciation in women and men. In Study 2, an online sample of 377 Britons completed measures of asexuality, body appreciation, functionality appreciation, body acceptance from others, and body image flexibility. Beyond the effects of sexual orientation, relationship status, and BMI, asexuality was significantly and negatively associated with all four body image constructs in men, and with body appreciation and functionality appreciation in women. Although asexuality only explained a small proportion of the variance in positive body image (3-11%) and further studies are needed, the relationship appears to be stable.
Perceived weight in the face and body size have been shown to be significant predictors of both attractiveness and health. Studies looking at the relationship between attractiveness, perceived health, and perceived weight in faces have found that individuals prefer a lower weight for attractiveness than for apparent health. Here, a group of twenty-four Asian participants were allowed to manipulate the apparent body mass indices (BMIs) of full-length photographs of young Malaysian Chinese women to enhance their perceived healthiness and attractiveness. Results showed that both men and women differentiated between attractiveness and health by preferring a lower BMI for attractiveness than health, suggesting a consistency in the preferred ideal BMI for attractiveness and healthy appearance across both sexes. Results also suggested that BMI provides important cues to judgments of attractive and healthy appearance.
Given that the prevalence of social anxiety in obese individuals is high, it is necessary that we increase our knowledge about the related factors that cause social anxiety in obese individuals. The present study sought to examine the role of body esteem as a mediator between sedentary behaviour and social anxiety. The participants were 207 overweight and obese individuals who completed the self-report measures. The structural equation modelling displayed that obese individuals with sedentary behaviour and poor body esteem were more likely to show social anxiety. Body esteem partially mediated between sedentary behaviour and social anxiety. Our results highlight the role of sedentary behaviour and body esteem as promising avenues for reducing social anxiety in obese individuals.
This study investigated how dissatisfaction with particular aspects of the body was associated with overall body dissatisfaction among male adolescents in Western and Asian cultures. One hundred and six Malaysian Malays, 55 Malaysian Chinese, 195 Chinese from China, and 45 non-Asian Australians aged 12 to 19 years completed a questionnaire assessing dissatisfaction with their overall body and dissatisfaction with varying aspects of their body. Dissatisfaction with the face, height, and hair was positively correlated with overall body dissatisfaction among Malaysian Malays after body mass index, age and dissatisfaction with body areas typically included in measures (weight/shape, upper, middle, and lower body, and muscles) had been controlled for. Dissatisfaction with the face was positively correlated with overall body dissatisfaction among Malaysian Chinese. These findings demonstrate the differences in body focus for males from different cultures and the importance of using assessment measures that address all possible areas of body focus.
This study investigated how dissatisfaction with various aspects of the body is associated with overall body dissatisfaction among female adolescents in Western and Asian cultures. Data used in the study were obtained from 58 Malaysian Malays, 95 Malaysian Chinese, 242 Chinese from China, and 81 non-Asian Australians aged 12-19 years (M=15.72, SD=1.72) who were recruited from high schools. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing dissatisfaction with their body overall, and dissatisfaction with varying aspects of their body. Malaysian Chinese were the most dissatisfied with their bodies. After controlling for body mass index (BMI), age and dissatisfaction with weight/shape, upper, middle and lower body, and muscles, dissatisfaction with the face was positively correlated with overall body dissatisfaction among Malaysian Malays and Australians. These findings demonstrate the importance of using assessment measures that address all possible areas of body focus as well as being tailored to the relevant culture.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine physical activity, eating behaviour, body weight management knowledge, perception of body image and their association with body weight status of adolescents.
Previous research has suggested that the factor structure of Body Appreciation Scale (BAS), a widely-used measure of positive body image, may not be cross-culturally equivalent. Here, we used confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate the conceptual equivalence of a Chinese (Cantonese) translation of the BAS among women (n=1319) and men (n=1084) in Hong Kong. Results showed that neither the one-dimensional nor proposed two-dimensional factor structures had adequate fit. Instead, a modified two-dimensional structure, which retained 9 of the 13 BAS items in two factors, had the best fit. However, only one of these factors, reflective of General Body Appreciation, had adequate internal consistency. This factor also had good patterns of construct validity, as indicated through significant correlations with participant body mass index, self-esteem, and (among women) actual-ideal weight discrepancy. The present results suggest that there may be cultural differences in the concept and experience of body appreciation.
Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are increasingly being thought of as resulting from dysfunctional modulation of interoceptive sensory signals by top-down cognitive processes. The current study investigated whether individuals with a tendency toward MUS would be more susceptible to visual illusions that suggest tactile sensation on the skin in the absence of any actual somatosensory input.