Perceived attractiveness and personality attributes: A gender and racial analysis

Description:

Subjects rated 12 female body shapes with respect to their physical attractiveness, and the extent to which they would be expected to possess various personality characteristics. The shapes were varied using 3 levels of overall weight and 4 levels of body shapeliness. The sample was modified to control for socioeconomic factors and results are based on 297 undergraduates from Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic racial backgrounds.

Loglinear analyses revealed that men and women, regardless of racial background, rated shapely underweight females as most physically attractive, sexy, and ideal for a woman, followed by normal weight figures of similar proportion. African Americans, women in particular, judged the shapely normal weight figures more favorably than the other subjects. Multidimensional scaling and subsequent frequency analyses showed that those figures judged as most attractive, sexy, and ideal were also expected to be fairly emotionally stable, and most successful and interpersonally competitive, but least faithful, kind, and family-oriented. Overweight female shapes, while rated as least physically attractive, sexy, and emotionally stable, were expected to be most family-oriented, kind, and faithful. Shapely normal weight figures were judged to be attractive and sexy, and were assumed to possess a moderate amount of the personality traits in question.

The results suggest that Caucasian and Hispanic subjects prefer shapely underweight women, while African Americans, particularly women, find shapely underweight and shapely normal weight women to be physically appealing. African American women also rate shapely normal weight women favorably with respect to personality traits. This perceptual difference may help inoculate them from developing eating disturbances and account for the low prevalence rate of eating disorders in African Americans compared to women of other racial backgrounds. It is suggested that future research identify those beliefs, values or behaviors that seem to inoculate African American women from developing eating disorders. Once identified, mental health professionals may facilitate their development in those women who are likely to have eating problems.

Creator(s): Olby, Brian C.
Creation Date: May 2000
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Usage:
Total Uses: 948
Past 30 days: 23
Yesterday: 2
Creator (Author):
Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: May 2000
  • Digitized: June 28, 2007
Description:

Subjects rated 12 female body shapes with respect to their physical attractiveness, and the extent to which they would be expected to possess various personality characteristics. The shapes were varied using 3 levels of overall weight and 4 levels of body shapeliness. The sample was modified to control for socioeconomic factors and results are based on 297 undergraduates from Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic racial backgrounds.

Loglinear analyses revealed that men and women, regardless of racial background, rated shapely underweight females as most physically attractive, sexy, and ideal for a woman, followed by normal weight figures of similar proportion. African Americans, women in particular, judged the shapely normal weight figures more favorably than the other subjects. Multidimensional scaling and subsequent frequency analyses showed that those figures judged as most attractive, sexy, and ideal were also expected to be fairly emotionally stable, and most successful and interpersonally competitive, but least faithful, kind, and family-oriented. Overweight female shapes, while rated as least physically attractive, sexy, and emotionally stable, were expected to be most family-oriented, kind, and faithful. Shapely normal weight figures were judged to be attractive and sexy, and were assumed to possess a moderate amount of the personality traits in question.

The results suggest that Caucasian and Hispanic subjects prefer shapely underweight women, while African Americans, particularly women, find shapely underweight and shapely normal weight women to be physically appealing. African American women also rate shapely normal weight women favorably with respect to personality traits. This perceptual difference may help inoculate them from developing eating disturbances and account for the low prevalence rate of eating disorders in African Americans compared to women of other racial backgrounds. It is suggested that future research identify those beliefs, values or behaviors that seem to inoculate African American women from developing eating disorders. Once identified, mental health professionals may facilitate their development in those women who are likely to have eating problems.

Degree:
Level: Doctoral
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Female body shape | Ideal body shape | Eating problems
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • OCLC: 47203881 |
  • UNTCAT: b2301006 |
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc2509
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
License: Copyright
Holder: Olby, Brian C.
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.