Body Image and Life Satisfaction in Amish, Catholic, and Non-Religious Women
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Libraries
Citation:Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies v. 6, no. 2 (2018), p. 174-191.
Dissatisfaction with one's appearance is commonplace in Western women. Body image dissatisfaction is believed to be a consequence of societal emphases on appearance reinforced through norms and media. However, some Amish cultural values and norms differ from prevailing Western influences, which may result in a rate of body image dissatisfaction at variance within women. The following pilot study explores how religious affiliation and religiosity may relate to body image factors (body dissatisfaction, appearance investment, and body image coping strategies) and life satisfaction in Amish (n = 32), Catholic (n = 40), and non-religious (n = 40) women. Results show that the Amish women reported having more positive body image on several factors than Catholic women, but the same results were not always replicated in non-religious women. Specifically, non-religious women showed similar levels of body satisfaction in comparison to Amish women, although they demonstrated use of different body image coping strategies. Additionally, when comparing women's reported current versus ideal figure, all women showed a preference for a thinner ideal. As this pilot study's methodology is preliminary, our ability to draw definitive conclusions is limited: future research should address these methodological limitations. If results from this study are confirmed, research is needed that examines the specific aspects of the Amish culture that may be associated with higher rates of body image satisfaction.
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