The present study investigates the association between obesity and body dissatisfaction in a sample of overweight and obese people. The risk factors of body dissatisfaction tested in the present research include gender, age, degree of obesity, and thin-ideal internalization. Methods: In this cross sectional research the authors collected a convenient sample of 189 overweight and obese research subjects. The sample consists of 99 females and 90 males, the mean body mass index (BMI) of the present sample is 30,6 kg/m2 (SD: 4,42; range 25,0-46,7 kg/m2). Measures include Body Attitude Test, Human Figure Drawings Test, Trait-Anxiety Scale. Results: Females have higher risk for body dissatisfaction than males even when BMI is controlled. Younger age increases the risk of body dissatisfaction only in females. In the first series of multiple regression analyses, BMI explains body dissatisfaction even when age, education and trait anxiety are controlled in the equations, however, there is a slight gender difference since the partial regression coefficients are beta = .37, p less than .001 in males and beta = .14, p less than .07 in females. Anxiety explains a large part of the association between body dissatisfaction and BMI in females. In the second series multiple linear regression analyses, thin-ideal internalization significantly explains body dissatisfaction in both genders (beta = .59, p less than .001 in males and beta = .32, p less than .001 in females) even when age, education, BMI, and trait anxiety are controlled. When internalization of the thin-ideal is entered into the model, the association between BMI and body dissatisfaction has diminished to nonsignificant. Therefore thin-ideal internalization fully explains the association between BMI and body dissatisfaction. Conclusion: Besides the objective measure of overweight, gender, age, anxiety and thin-ideal internalization increase the risk of body dissatisfaction. The authors need further research to understand the importance of body dissatisfaction, anxiety and internalization of the thin-ideal in weight management programs.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.