So listen guys, I know you’ve all been thinking that the old “does my bum look big in this” routine was just a test of your tact/intelligence/survival instincts, but according to a recent study (who researches this stuff?) the most powerful influence on women’s body image may really be other people’s opinion.
Tracy Tylka, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University, surveyed a total of 801 women, split into groups of 18-25, 26-39 and 40-65 year olds.
The women were asked about how they perceived the social support they received from a variety of different relationships, whether they believed that their bodies were accepted by them, as well as by society and the media, whether they focused more on how their bodies functioned or on it’s appearance, and whether they listened to their bodies regarding when they were hungry and when they were full.
The women who felt that they received strong social support were more likely to believe that other’s accepted their bodies, which in turn made them more likely to appreciate their own bodies and eat more healthily.
Interestingly, the study also found that women who were overweight could still have a good body image if they felt that people who were important in their lives weren’t trying to make them change their body shape or lose weight. But the opposite was also true. Women who weren’t overweight could still have poor body image of they felt that important people didn’t accept their appearance.
The study found that women aged 26-39 were most likely to be happy with their bodies if they focused on how their bodies functioned instead of how they looked or how much they weighed.
As Tylka points out, “We are in charge of our attitudes, (this research) shouldn’t send out the message that the only thing that matters is that others accept our bodies”. But with attitudes towards larger body shapes becoming more negative the world over, perhaps it’s time that we learned to focus more on our health than our looks.
Source : Science Daily