The first national study of body image was reported four decades ago in the article The Happy American Body (Berscheid et al., 1973). To provide a modern follow-up to this study, we used two Internet panel surveys of U.S. adults to examine feelings about appearance (Survey 1: Married N = 1095; Single N = 5481) and weight, appearance, body, and muscle size/tone (Survey 2: N = 1601). Mean ages across samples for men and women ranged from 42-53. On the positive side, many men and women were somewhat-to-very satisfied with their appearance (67 %; 57 %), overall body (61 %; 46 %), weight (54 %; 42 %), and muscle tone/size (56 %; 41 %). Mean gender differences were small (Cohen's ds = 0.18–0.32), as were sexual orientation differences within each gender (ds = |0.00-0.25|). Looking at negative body image, fewer men than women were somewhat-to-very unhappy with their appearance among married (19 %; 29 %) and single participants (29 %; 35 %), and fewer men were somewhat-to-extremely dissatisfied with their appearance (18 %; 24 %), body (27 %; 39 %), weight (36 %; 49 %), muscle tone/size (27 %; 41 %). Nearly one-fifth of men (18 %) and one-fourth of women (27 %) were very-to-extremely dissatisfied with at least one of these traits, highlighting the importance of body image interventions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Kay Family Foundation Data Analytics Award for the project Applying Big Data Analytic Techniques to Understand the Predictors and Prevalence of Body Image Disturbances and Disordered Eating Patterns in National Samples . Study 1 was funded by Match.com and Study 2 was funded by K-Y .
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- Body dissatisfaction
- Body image
- Sexual orientation
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article