Body Size Distortion and Self-Esteem in Asymptomatic Normal Weight Males and Females

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The purpose of this study was to assess body size distortion and the relationship between self‐esteem and distortion in normal weight, asymptomatic individuals. There were 30 male and 30 female subjects selected from a general college population. Criteria for acceptance included a weight range within 10% of ideal and no history of eating disorder behaviors. Subjects completed Rosenberg's self‐esteem questionnaire and estimated the size of four body sites using an adjustable light beam technique. Estimations were compared with actual sizes assessed with body calipers. On the average, all subjects overestimated their body sizes. Females had significantly higher body distortion scores than males, but significantly lower self‐esteem scores. There was a significant positive correlation between self‐esteem and distortion level for the males' waist and a significant negative correlation for the females' thighs. In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between overall distortion level and self‐esteem for females. The results were discussed with regard to the greater incidence of eating disorders in females and the importance of correlates of body distortion in asymptomatic populations.

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International Journal of Eating Disorders, v. 5, issue 6, p. 1061-1068