Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lox, Curt

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Body image; Women--Psychology; Leanness--Psychological aspects


The perception o f one's body image is a popular issue in the American culture today. When one is dissatisfied or unhappy with their body image, various psychological and social issues may impact on the dissatisfaction. Research has shown that the majority o f women are dissatisfied with their bodies and wish to lose weight. The purpose o f this study, however, was to determine whether subjectively underweight females who perceive themselves as too thin experience similar psychological/emotional states and body disturbances as those women who perceive themselves as overweight. It was hypothesized that women who perceive their bodies as too thin will encounter the same psychosocial disturbances (body dissatisfaction, distorted body images, high social physique anxiety and depression, and low self-esteem) as women who feel they are overweight. The participants for the study were 28 college-aged females who perceived themselves as underweight and desired to gain additional weight. Subjects were assessed via a seven-page questionnaire which consisted o f four scales and one background information sheet. The four scales measured social physique anxiety (Social Physique Anxiety Scale; SPAS), self-esteem (Janis-Field o f Inadequacy Scale; JFS), depressionproneness (Depression-Proneness Inventory Scale; DPI), and body-cathexis (Body Cathexis Scale; BCS). Results found that females who perceived their bodies to be too thin reported moderate mean scores on the SPAS, JFS, DPI, and BCS. Additionally, the SPAS, BCS, and DPI were all positively correlated with one another and negatively correlated with the JFS. The results indicated a trend suggesting that higher feelings of physique anxiety are modestly associated with lower levels o f self-esteem and higher levels o f body dissatisfaction and depression. When comparing these results o f the present study to past research completed on college-aged women who perceived themselves as overweight, the patterns are very similar. Therefore, it was concluded that women who perceive themselves to be loo thin expressed similar psychosocial characteristics and body dissatisfaction as compared to previous studies o f women who perceived their bodies as overweight.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [41]-49)


68 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