Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.||Petrich, Beatrice

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Home Economics


Body size


This study was designed to compare body-cathexis, self-cathexis, and feelings of security among those who perceive their body sizes inaccurately to that among those who perceive their body sizes accurately; to compare those personality traits among obese women, normal weight women, and thin women; and to identify those personality traits in weight satisfied and weight unsatisfied women. The subjects were 191 college women. Their height, weight, wrist circumference and skinfold thickness were measured. Personality tests included Secord and Jourard's Body-Self-Cathexis Scale and Security-Insecurity Test of Maslow, et al. It was found that one third of sample population were obese; one third were normal weight but they perceived themselves as fat (abbreviated as NF group); the other one third were a mixed group of thin, normal and feel to be normal, and normal but feel to be thin subjects. The fatness and weight status of the NF group also fell in between the normal and the fat but feel to be fat group. These findings suggest that the NF group is a psychological and physical middle step between normal weight and obese. It was also found that, regardless of degree of fatness, fat women tend to have lower body-cathexis scores than normal women. Self-cathexis and feelings of security are likely influenced by factors other than fatness. Weight unsatisfied women tend to have lower body-cathexis and lower self-cathexis than the weight satisfied group. The small number of thin subjects (3%) is inadequate to allow any conclusion as to personality traits accompanying thinness.


Includes bibliographical references.


vii, 89 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type