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The construct of body image and its relationship to minor life events and mood in men and women

Robert Otto Knauz, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Abstract

Historically, research on the construct of body image has focused on its stability. Many researchers are beginning to reexamine whether the body image construct is stable, and they have shown that the construct is subject to change after experimentally induced situations and after major life events. This study attempted to determine whether minor life events and mood had a significant relationship to body image ratings and whether a change in minor life events and mood over the course of one month would predict body image ratings. For men, it was found that minor life events were not significantly related to body image ratings, though higher mood scores were significantly related to lower ratings of physical appearance. For women, a greater number of positive minor life events was significantly related to engaging in more behaviors to keep oneself physically attractive, and higher mood scores were significantly related to lower ratings of physical appearance. For men, changes in minor life events or mood over the course of one month did not predict change in body image ratings. For women, an increase in positive minor life events predicted an increase in behaviors associated with keeping oneself physically attractive. A post-hoc analysis was conducted to determine whether individuals whose mood worsened over the course of one month would show greater changes in body image ratings. However, this post-hoc hypothesis was not supported. The main hypotheses were reanalyzed with the subsample stratified into younger and older adult men and women. Though the sample size was small, there appeared to be differences between older and younger adults, with younger adults more susceptible to body image fluctuations than older adults. In the overall sample, body image ratings changed little over the course of one month, though this discovery fits well within an overall personality contruct model proposed by Mischel (1968). Effect sizes for this study were small, and the sample size was too small to confidently find significant relationships or make predictions. Other limitations of this study as well as future directions in research are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Robert Otto Knauz, "The construct of body image and its relationship to minor life events and mood in men and women" (January 1, 1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI9841886.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI9841886

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