Date of Thesis

Spring 5-5-2012

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

David Dean

Abstract

Drive for thinness (DT) and social body comparison (SBC) have been highly correlated with body dissatisfaction, a robust risk factor for eating disorders; however, there is little understanding of how these two variables relate to increases in body dissatisfaction over time. In the present study, I investigated how high initial levels of DT and SBC correlate with changes in body dissatisfaction and ideal body by surveying 110 first-year women at the beginning and end of their first semester. There was no significant relationship between high initial DT and SBC and changes in either body dissatisfaction or ideal body. However, high initial SBC was almost significantly correlated with change in ideal body due to women with low SBC choosing larger bodies at follow-up. In addition, women with high initial DT and SBC had higher body dissatisfaction than women with low initial levels of both variables. Women with high initial SBC chose thinner ideal bodies than women with low initial SBC. Lastly, change in body dissatisfaction was negatively correlated with change in ideal body. If replicated, I would hope these findings could contribute to a better understanding of how women’s perception of their bodies changes over the course of their first semester in college and inform interventions to address this potential risk factor for disordered eating.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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