ERIC Number: EJ725089
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec-22
Reference Count: 34
An Exploration of the Attitudinal and Perceptual Dimensions of Body Image among Male and Female Adolescents from Six Latin American Cities
McArthur, Laura H.; Holbert, Donald; Pena, Manuel
Adolescence (San Diego): an international quarterly devoted to the physiological, psychological, psychiatric, sociological, and educational aspects of the second decade of human life, v40 n160 p801 Win 2005
Using survey methodology, this exploratory study examined the attitudinal and perceptual dimensions of body image among 1,272 eighth- and ninth-grade males and females from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds in Buenos Aires, Argentina (n = 195), Guatemala City, Guatemala (n = 212), Havana, Cuba (n = 213), Lima, Peru (n = 218), Panama City, Panama (n = 195), and Santiago, Chile (n = 239). The two dimensions of body image were assessed by showing the participants nine male and nine female silhouettes depicting body sizes ranging from extremely thin (#1) to extremely obese (#9). Approximately 50% of the male and female adolescents chose silhouette #3 as best depicting the attractive male body. Silhouette #2 was chosen by 45% of the females as best depicting feminine attractiveness, while 45% of the males chose silhouette #3. When identifying the silhouette that best depicted the healthy male body, 26% of the participants chose silhouette #2, 41% chose #3, and 19% chose #4. Silhouette #2 was selected by 33% of the adolescents as best depicting the healthy female body, 38% chose #3, and 14% chose #4. In all cities, the effect of body mass index (BMI) on body satisfaction was highly significant (p [less than] 0.001). Almost 40% of the middle weight adolescents indicated a preference to be thinner, even though 72% of the males and 84% of the females in this subgroup already perceived themselves as thin. Similarly, 89% of the heavier weight participants indicated a preference to be thinner, even though only 10% of the males and 2% of the females in this subgroup perceived themselves as heavy. In five of the six cities, a significantly higher (p [less than] 0.05) percentage of females than males desired to be thinner, the exception being Havana, where the distribution of desired change in body size was almost identical for males and females. Findings suggest a need for culturally sensitive, age- and gender-specific preventive interventions focusing on the importance of achieving a healthy weight during adolescence to promote body size acceptance among adolescents who are at a healthy weight.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Self Concept, Body Composition, Adolescents, Adolescent Attitudes, Surveys, Socioeconomic Background, Grade 8, Grade 9, Gender Differences, Student Attitudes, Culturally Relevant Education
Libra Publishers, 3089C Clairemont Drive, Suite 383, San Diego, CA 92117. Web site: http://www.abe.pl/html/english/detailsj.php?id=0001-8449.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 8; Grade 9
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Argentina (Buenos Aires); Chile (Santiago); Cuba; Guatemala; Panama; Peru