Date of Award

5-9-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Valerie Taylor

Second Advisor

Dr. Shani Harris

Abstract

Stereotypical images of women promoting the thinness ideal have been previously linked to the development of lower self-esteem and body satisfaction; however, there has been relatively little research analyzing whether these images have an impact on women's body dissatisfaction and women's acceptance of abusive behaviors in romantic relationships. The present study examined whether stereotypical images of women that promote the thinness ideal affect body dissatisfaction and the acceptance of abusive behaviors in romantic relationships in African American women in college. Participants consisted of female students attending Spelman College. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two levels of the independent variable female image type, thin or average. Participants viewed thirteen female images and then completed three surveys that assessed their body dissatisfaction and acceptance of abusive behaviors. Women's body dissatisfaction was measured using the PASTAS and the Thompson and Gary Contour Drawing Scale. Women's acceptance of abusive behaviors was measured using an adaptation of the IPV Compendium C3 Index of Psychological Abuse Survey. The hypotheses that women exposed to stereotypical images of thin women will exhibit higher body dissatisfaction and have a greater acceptance of abusive behaviors in romantic relationships compared to women exposed to images of average-sized women was not supported, t(38) = - .037, p = .76, t(38) = .00, p = 1.0, t(38) = 1.637, p = .11. It appears women in the African- American community may not respond to exposure to thin images the same as women of other races.

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Psychology Commons

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