Americans’ self-esteem undermined by focus on body image

American college students are much more likely to worry about the way they look and to spend time obsessing over their bodies than their German counterparts, according to a new study.

“Cross-cultural differences in the value placed on appearances and resulting sociocultural pressures are the most likely explanation,” says lead author Antje Bohne of Harvard Medical School.

Despite these differences in body image, the American students were no more likely to have severe enough body dissatisfaction to meet criteria for a psychological disorder, Bohne and colleagues say.

The study included detailed questionnaires administered to 101 American college students and 133 German students. Most of the participants were women.

The study results are published in the November/December issue of the journal Psychosomatics.

Three-quarters of the American students reported being concerned with the appearance of parts of their body, compared with fewer than half of the German students. Nearly 30 percent of the American students also reported being preoccupied with this concern, compared with 15 percent of the Germans.

Four of the American students and seven of the German students appeared to suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, which is defined as excessive concern with an imagined or slight defect in appearance that leads to significant distress or functional impairment.

“Although Americans were more likely to develop body image concerns and to be preoccupied with them than their German counterparts, in many cases, these symptoms were not severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning,” the researchers say.

They note, however, that their data suggests an association between poor body image and low self-esteem as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“Our findings are consistent with prior findings that Americans are more likely to be concerned with their appearance and to place greater value on physical attractiveness in their judgment of others than do individuals from other cultures, such as Asians or Germans,” Bohne and colleagues say.

Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Antje Bohne at +011 49 251 845 934 or antjebohne@yahoo.de.
Psychosomatics: Contact Tom Wise, M.D., at (703) 698-3626.

Center for the Advancement of Health
Contact: Ira R. Allen
Director of Public Affairs
202.387.2829
press@cfah.org

Media Contact

Antje Bohne EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.hbns.org

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Social Sciences

This area deals with the latest developments in the field of empirical and theoretical research as it relates to the structure and function of institutes and systems, their social interdependence and how such systems interact with individual behavior processes.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles related to the social sciences field including demographic developments, family and career issues, geriatric research, conflict research, generational studies and criminology research.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

How Stable is the Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Scientists from Heidelberg University investigate which factors determine the stability of ice masses in East Antarctica. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is…

Smart sensors for future fast charging batteries

European project “Spartacus” launched Faster charging, longer stability of performance not only for electric vehicles but also for smartphones and other battery powered products. What still sounds like science fiction…

Small molecules control bacterial resistance to antibiotics

Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine by providing effective treatments for infectious diseases such as cholera. But the pathogens that cause disease are increasingly developing resistance to the antibiotics that are most…

Partners

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close