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December 2022

Explanations of body image disturbance: A test of maturational status, negative verbal commentary, social comparison, and sociocultural hypotheses

Author(s): Thompson, J. K.

Journal/Book: Int J Eating Disorder. 1996; 19: 605 3RD Ave, New York, NY 10158-0012. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 193-202.

Abstract: Objective: A number of hypotheses have been offered to explain the development and/or maintenance of body image disturbance. In this study, four factors which have been hypothesized to lead to body image problems were tested: maturational status (early physical development), negative verbal commentary (a history of being teased regarding physical appearance), behavioral social comparison, and awareness/internalization of sociocultural pressures. Methods: One hundred sixty-two college females completed measures designed to index these four influences. Predictors were regressed onto multiple measures of body image and two indices of eating disturbance. Results: Even with self-esteem and level of obesity removed as influences, social comparison and societal factors were significant predictors of body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance. Negative verbal commentary also explained a small part of the variance, however, maturational status did not contribute uniquely in any analysis. Discussion: The findings offer further support for emerging theories of body image and eating disturbance.

Note: Article JK Thompson, Univ S Florida, Dept Psychol, Tampa, FL 33620 USA


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