Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology
Thomas F. Cash
While many facets of body image have been extensively researched, relatively few studies have examined racial and social class differences in body image. The present paper consists of two studies examining racial and class differences in body image among males and females. Study 1 utilized a national sample of respondents to a 1985 Psychology Today survey to examine racial (Black and White) and educational differences in body image among men and women. Study 2 utilized a smaller sample of Black subjects, half drawn from several Southeastern universities and the other half from non-academic locations in the Tidewater area of Virginia to examine gender and social class differences in body image among Blacks. The results of the two studies were consistent in leading to three general conclusions: (1) Regardless of race or educational level, men have a more positive body image than women. (2) Regardless of sex or educational level, Blacks tend to have a more positive body image than Whites. (3) While White women tend to be more invested than White men in various aspects of their body image, Black men are as interested in their body image as Black women. Results of the first study indicate that being better educated may result in a somewhat more positive body image, although this was not as strong or consistent a trend as the other ones noted above. The lack of significant results based on social class in the second study may reflect a lack of diversity in social class among the subjects in the study rather than the true absence of class differences in body image in the general population. Explanations for the differences, clinical implications, weaknesses of the studies, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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Huffine, Christopher E..
"Body-Image Attitudes and Perceptions Among African-Americans and Whites as a Function of Socioeconomic Class"
(1991). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Dissertation, Psychology, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/wrst-ay93