Perception Case Study

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Psychological investigations on body image have historically been a huge topic of study, mainly because body image research can relate to many different levels of clinical psychology and psychiatric work. The concept of body image incorporates more than just weight and shape, and can be expressed in a variety of dimensions. Many psychologists are interested in the socio-cultural effects and environmental events that cause individual behavior in relation to body image. Various researchers have investigated the fluctuations in perceived body image and the alarming rise in body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction relates to negative evaluations of body size, shape, tone, weight and can involve a perceived discrepancy between a person’s evaluation of their own body and their ideal body.

Understanding why some individuals have a healthy sense of body image while some have a distorted view is an important starting point for research. One study published in Sex Roles, conducted a representative survey titled Women’s Body Image: The results of a National Survey in the US (Cash 1995). The materials used to conduct this research were standardized Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire. These surveys represent the evaluations of 803 adult women in the United States. The results indicate that nearly half of the participants reported negative evaluations of their appearances. While age did not play an important factor in interpreting these results, race and ethnicity differences proved that African Americans expressed a more positive image than Caucasian or Hispanic women.

Further research published in the Journal of Adolescent Research by Jones of University of Washington, Vigfusdottir of Reykjavik University, and Lee of University of Washington (2004) three dimensions of cultural appearance were analyzed. This study measures cultural appearance and body mass index (BMI) to internalization of appearance ideals and body image dissatisfaction. They...
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