Comparing Internalization of Appearance Ideals and Appearance-Related Pressures Among Women from the United States, Italy, England, and Australia
Researchers have observed variation in levels of body image disturbance and eating pathology among women from different Western countries. Examination of cross-cultural differences in the established risk factors (i.e., thin-ideal internalization, muscular-ideal internalization, and appearance pressures from family, peers, and media) for negative outcomes may help to elucidate the prominence of specific risk factors within a given Western society and guide associated interventions. Women from the United States (US), Italy, England, and Australia completed the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire-4 (SATAQ-4). Analysis of covariance controlling for age and BMI indicated significant cross-country differences for all SATAQ-4 subscales. Results typically indicated higher levels of appearance-ideal internalization and appearance pressures in the US and lower levels in Italy; however, associated effect sizes were generally small. A medium effect of country was observed for peer-appearance pressures, which were highest in the US compared with all other countries. Repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired samples t tests conducted within each country identified thin-ideal internalization and media appearance pressures as the predominant risk factors for all four countries. Overall, findings suggest more cross-country similarities than differences, and highlight the importance of delivering interventions to address thin-ideal internalization and media appearance pressures among women from Western backgrounds.
Schaefer, L. M., Burke, N. L., Anderson, L. M., Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L. J., Bardone-Cone, A. M., Higgins Neyland, M. K., Frederick, D. A., Anderson, D. A., Schaumberg, K., Nerini, A., Stefanile, C., Dittmar, H., Klump, K. L., Vercellone, A. C., & Paxton, S. J. (2019). Comparing internalization of appearance ideals and appearance-related pressures among women from the United States, Italy, England, and Australia. Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 24, 947-951. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-018-0544-8