Perceived and desired body image in male and female adults
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The present study examined perceived, desired and actual body image in male and female adults. The participants (n = 54) choose their perceived and desired Body Mass Index on a scale of nine body silhouettes devised by Stunkard et al (1983). Participants were then weighed for body mass and measured for stature to calculate their actual Body Mass Index (actual body image). The purpose of this study was to compare male and female discrepancy scores on perceived, desired and actual Body Mass Index using a quantitative research method. Results indicated that significant differences were present between perceived and desired body image in males (p=0.012) with 48.18% desiring to have a smaller body image than their perceived. The women’s results showed significant differences between desired and perceived Body Mass Index (p=0.000) and actual and perceived Body Mass Index (p=0.006). 51.85% of women desired a smaller figure than their actual size. The hypotheses for the study were accepted, as significant differences were evident between perceived Body Mass Index, desired Body Mass Index and actual in body mass index in both males and females. It is suggested that future body image research should consider and investigate silhouette images with corresponding Body Mass Index figures on male and female perceived ideals of the opposite sex.
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