Term of Award

1985

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Gary McClure

Committee Member 1

Richard Rogers

Committee Member 2

Phillip Hurst

Abstract

Researchers have been interested in somatotype research for a number of years. Several studies have demonstrated that stereotypes do indeed exist for the endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic somatotypes. The present study was interested in whether race or sex has a significant impact on somatotype preference in an interpersonal relationship thus suggesting a cultural bias. This concern arose out of the empirical observation over a number of years by the Savannah Community Cardiovascular Center that black female high school students in Chatham County have a higher incidence of obesity than their white counterparts. The McDuffie-Thomas (MT) Survey, designed by the researchers to question participants on their somatotype preference for parents, spouse, or date, was given to 661 high school seniors from public high schools in Savannah, Georgia. They completed this survey prior to participating in the annual hypertension screening.The results of the present study indicated that race or sex does not have a significant impact on somatotype preference in interpersonal relationships with the exception of the "best" husband and "best" mother somatotype selections. The mesomorphic somatotype was selected by a majority of the participants (both black and white). However, a larger percentage of black participants (15.9%) chose the ectomorphic somatotype for "best" husband as compared to white participants (9.4%). A larger percentage of black participants (6.6%) chose the endomorphic somatotype for "best" mother as compared to white participants (3.2%). Of the total number of participants who reported having endomorphic mothers, 75% were black. However, these same participants more frequently preferred the mesomorphic somatotype. This tends to show that cultural influences may be at work and suggests a potentially important area for further research.

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