Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 54 Issue 3 (September 1981), Pages 203-297

In the eye of the beholder: Social and personal characteristics of teenagers and their impressions of themselves and fat and slim people (pages 231-242)

Fifty‐nine female and 79 male secondary students rated six stimulus figures (self, ideal self, fat young man/woman, slim young man/woman) on 28 personal rating scales. They also completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Each of the stimulus‐figure data sets was factor analysed and the factor scores were related to role, personality, and perceived weight status by means of correlational and discriminant function analyses.

The results showed that the perceivers' sex, ethnicity and perceived weight status were related to their perceptions of the stimulus figures. These relationships included interactions between sex and ethnicity in their effects on reported views of ideal self and fat young woman (FYW). Daughters of European migrants reported more independent and stronger self‐aspirations than did their peers, and sons of European migrants saw FYW more positively than did the other subjects.

The observed relationship between females' perceived weight status and their self‐concepts suggest that body image may be of greater importance for girls than for boys of this age.

Extraversion and neuroticism differed according to sex in their relationships with the subjects' perceptions of the FYW figure.

These and other findings indicate that the presence or absence of obesity has relevance for social and psychological processes as well as for medical issues.

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