Comparing Body Image Dissatisfaction Among Middle-Aged Women: A Life-Long Experience

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Georgia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Journal


Background: Although Body Image Dissatisfaction (BID) can occur throughout the lifespan, the majority of the previous research has focused on younger or older females. Furthermore, few studies have investigated factors that influence BID such as interpersonal distrust, social comparison, media influence, and maturity fears.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare BID among middle-aged women by BID subscales (interpersonal distrust, social comparison, media influence, and maturity fears).

Method: A quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive study was employed; 341 women were recruited to participate in the study.

Results: Investigators found that 39.4% of participants were unhappy with current weight and 82.4% were afraid of becoming fat. Age among middle-aged women was not a significant factor in the subscales. BID remained constant across age groupings (P>0.05) in middle-aged women, indicating BID issues effect all ages equally. Overweight/obese women suffer BID at significantly higher rates than normal/ underweight women (P<0.05).

Discussion: This study found that higher educational levels seemed to protect one against interpersonal distrust and social comparison. Similar to past research, age and ethnic background were not significant factors in body image subscales.

Translation to Health Education Practice: Middle-aged women suffer from BID at the same rate as younger women. Education can serve as a protective factor against BID. Health educators should implement self-assessments on eating and lifestyle behaviors when working with women that have BID and tailor programs to meet individual needs.