Body Image Perception of Undergraduate Females as it Relates to Disordered Eating and Psychological Conditions

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Show full item record

Files Size Format View
Honors_thesis.pdf 383.9Kb PDF View/Open

Title: Body Image Perception of Undergraduate Females as it Relates to Disordered Eating and Psychological Conditions
Creators: Swierkosz, Natalie
Advisor: Clutter, Jill
Issue Date: 2010-06
Abstract: Objectives: The purpose of this research was to determine the accuracy of body image perception among domestic undergraduate women at four-year universities. Analysis was also performed to determine if women who overestimated body mass index (BMI) would be more likely to report the desire to lose weight and what behaviors they were using to do so, as well as if they were more likely to experience psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. Previous research suggests that undergraduate females with a negative body image are at high risk for developing patterns of disordered eating and psychological conditions. Methods: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study. Data was obtained through the American College Health Association and was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS v 17.0). Data came from participants in the 2005 National College Health Assessment. For All males, graduate students, and international students were excluded in order to isolate the target population. Results: Results indicated that the majority of undergraduate females have an accurate body image perception. However, those women who overestimated their actual body weight were much more likely to express the desire to lose weight than those with accurate perception or those who underestimate. Women who perceive themselves as being heavier than they truly are were more likely to report taking action to lose weight, including partaking in unhealthy behaviors such as vomiting and taking diet pills. This group of women was also more likely to have an eating disorder, either anorexia or bulimia. In terms of psychological conditions, no connection to body image perception was found. Women who overestimated body weight were not more likely to report feeling depressed, having an anxiety disorder, or ever having a medical diagnosis of depression. Conclusions: Most domestic undergraduate females have an accurate, healthy perception of their bodies. Women who do overestimate their body weight are more likely to attempt to lose weight and participate in behaviors to do so, ranging from dieting and exercising to self-induced vomiting and taking diet pills. These women are slightly more at risk for developing an eating disorder as well. There appears to be no link between body image perception and psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. This could be due to underreporting or the fact that the instrument may not have been sensitive enough to demonstrate a connection.
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. School of Allied Medical Professions Honors Theses; 2010
Keywords: eating disorders
psychological conditions
undergraduate females
Bookmark and Share