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Lecture 10 Physical Attractiveness and Body Image

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1 Lecture 10 Physical Attractiveness and Body Image
Health Psychology Lecture 10 Physical Attractiveness and Body Image

2 Lecture 8 - Outline Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Importance of Physical Beauty
Defining Beauty Biological Basis of Beauty Part 2 Body Image (definition, measurement epidemiology) Health implications (psychopathology, sub-clinical) Part 3 Men’s body image (steroid abuse)

3 Schwartz (1992)


5 Question Is physical beauty important? Answer: Not really Answer (academia): NO!! “Many intellectuals would have us believe that beauty is inconsequential … Since it explains nothing, solves nothing, and teaches us nothing, it should not have a place in intellectual discourse” (Etcoff, 1999)

6 Preferential Treatment
“My fourth Cosmetic Discovery occurred at 18 … I awoke to a realization that would take a long time to play out, but in essence Cosmetic Discovery #4 was this: if you’re a young, blue-ribbon egg-bearer, there’s nothing you can’t get away with. Nobody who hasn’t been there has any idea, and even those who have won’t really understand until after the stampede [of sperm-bearers] has passed because there’s so much dust in the air” (supermodel Lauren Hutton, 1995)

7 Behavioral Evidence “What is beautiful is good”
Advantages afforded to the physically attractive Physical attractiveness stereotype Preferential treatment

8 Biological Basis of Beauty
“beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Evolutionary psychology Humans are driven to select mates who will give them the greatest likelihood of healthy, abundant offspring (Buss, 1989) Healthy mates produce healthy offspring Physical beauty is a health certification

9 Pathogen-Resistance Theory
beauty is a physiologic burden that only a strong body can support

10 An example (secondary sex characteristics)
Facial attractiveness Women - smallness in lower face is attractive Men - largeness in lower face is attractive Hormones Women - estrogen caps growth of lower face during puberty Men - testosterone  growth of lower face during puberty Sex hormones are immunosupressors only immunocompetent individuals can afford the expression of secondary sex characteristics

11 David Buss (1989) Mate selection
Cross-cultural research (33 countries) Consistently across samples: Men preferred younger mates Strong women preferred older mates Men placed stronger value of physical attractiveness than women Women placed stronger value on “good financial prospect” than men Importance of attractiveness correlated positively with the prevalence of parasitic disease across societies.

12 Body Image “the psychological experience of one’s own body”
Body image is multifaceted… Perceptual Cognitive Affective Behavioral

13 Body Image Measurement
“the psychological experience of one’s own body” Body image measurement is multifaceted… Perceptual (body size estimation) Cognitive (attainability, perceived control) Affective (body dissatisfaction) Behavioral (grooming, checking, etc)

14 Figure Rating Scales Body dissatisfaction = discrepancy between actual and ideal.

15 Body-Self Relations Questionnaire
Lower scores = higher body dissatisfaction My body is sexually appealing I like my looks just the way they are Most people would consider me good looking I like the way I look without my clothes I dislike my physique* I’m physically unattractive* (*reverse code)

16 Physical Appearance Trait Anxiety Scale
Higher scores = higher body dissatisfaction In general, I feel anxious, nervous or tense about: The extent to which I look overweight My ears My thighs My lips My buttocks My wrists My hips My hands My stomach My forehead My legs My neck My waist My chin My muscle tone My feet (1 = never, 2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = always)

17 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image?
Overall Appearance Dissatisfaction Women 23% 38% 56% Men % 34% 43% Garner (1997)

18 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image?
Mid-Torso Dissatisfaction Women 50% 57% 71% Men % 50% 63% Garner (1997)

19 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image?
Lower-Torso Dissatisfaction Women 49% 50% 61% Men % 21% 29% Garner (1997)

20 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image?
Upper-Torso Dissatisfaction Women 27% 32% 34% Men % 28% 38% Garner (1997)

21 Consequences? Psychopathology Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance; causes distress/impaired functioning Eating Disorders Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa Binge-Eating Disorder

22 Consequences? Sub-Clinical Social relations Sexual functioning
Starting Smoking Low self-esteem, depressive symptoms Eating behaviors (dieting, binging, purging) Avoidance of exercise Learning and cognition Cosmetic surgery

23 Risk Factors - Body Dissatisfaction
Biological BMI Physical Attractiveness Psychological Appearance investment (importance) Internalization of societal ideals Social Demographics (gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality) Sociocultural influences (family, peers, mass media) Cultural Ideals of Attractiveness (e.g., Tonga)

24 Media and girls’ body image
Evidence from 5 sources: Content Analyses of Media Ideals thin-ideal is getting thinner Self-report Correlational Studies (no longitudinal yet) television exposure emulate media personalities / internalization Cross-Cultural Studies Experimental Studies Meta-Analysis of 25 studies (Groez et al., 2002) ‘small but consistent’ negative effect certain individuals particularly vulnerable

25 Media and boys’ body image
Content Analyses (last 20 years) men more often topless in magazines (Pope et al., 2001) Playgirls centrefolds increasingly muscular action toys increasingly muscular (Pope et al., 1999) But, Nivea for Men…“Dare to Care” Correlational Studies exposure to entertainment TV (Anderson et al., 2001) emulate media personalities (Field et al., 2001) internalization of muscular ideal (Smolak et al., 2001) Experimental Studies ...

26 Men’s Body Image “Unlike women, men labor under a social taboo against expressing such feelings. Real men aren’t supposed to whine about their looks; their not even supposed to worry about such things.” (Pope et al., 2000)

27 Male Body Image Sources of dissatisfaction Muscle Receding hair
Fat (pot belly, love handles) Small penis Or some other perceived deficiency

28 Male Body Image Muscle Dysmorphia (BDD)
Sometimes called reverse anorexia People with muscle dysmorphia are ashamed of looking too small when they’re actually big Need to exercise every day, feelings of being too fat, dislike of their bodies, persist in exercising despite pain and injury

29 Male Body Image Body dissatisfaction is increasingly common in men
Two recent societal changes: Threatened masculinity Images of the “roided” body have infiltrated media images and societal ideals (Pope et al., 2000)

30 Anabolic Steroids Family of drugs that contain the male hormone testosterone Illegal unless prescribed, but widely available on black market Taken orally or by injection Allow user to gain muscle mass, far beyond that attainable without

31 Anabolic Steroids Medical hazards - increased risk of: Heart disease
Stroke Prostate cancer Leads to use of other drugs (become steroid dependant) pain killers to deal with aches and pains of lifting morphine and heroin.

32 Anabolic Steroids Psychological effects Mood swings Irritability
Short tempered, over react to situations, sudden bursts of aggression (roid rage) Psychotic delusions (plotting to harm) Personality changes (cockiness) Excess confidence, grandiose beliefs

33 Anabolic Steroids What can be done? Education
Interdiction (law enforcement) Psychiatric treatment for users Remove secrecy (steroid users are cheats)

34 Body Image - Treatment and Prevention
What can be done? Change the body Weight loss Physical exercise Cosmetic surgery Change the body image CBT Psychopharmacology Psychoeducation

35 Treatment and Prevention
What can be done? Prevention - ecological and activism approaches

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