The Relationship Between Religious
Orientation and Body Image
Satisfaction and the Thin Body Ideal
Among Female College Students
Sue Walsh PhD., ATC
Concordia University Chicago
Agenda
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Development
Purpose
Problem
Sociocultural Theory
Research Questions
Procedures
Variables
Results
Conclusions
Limitations & Delimitations
Future Research
Development
• Peter Walters PhD
– Wheaton College
• Harold Koenig M.D.
– Duke University
– Leading researcher on health and religion
Purpose
To investigate the relationship between religious
orientation and the sociocultural attitudes
towards appearance and body image
satisfaction among female college students.
Allport’s Religious Orientation
• Gordon Allport's theoretical distinction between
mature and immature religion (Allport and Ross ,1967)
• Not all religious individuals are created equally:
Individuals might engage in similar religious behaviors,
such as church attendance, their underlying motives
may differ, depending on the “maturity” of their
respective “religious sentiments” (Hill & Hood, 1999, p 119)
• Intrinsic-extrinsic scale to measure different religious
orientations
• Intrinsically religious
– internalize and live their religion, and their religious
motivation is found at the very core of his or her
being.
• Extrinsically religious
– use religion as a means for a different end, such as:
security, justification, sociability, distraction, or status;
and that their motives for being religious rest on
social or external values (Genia, 1998).
Problem
• Novel and lacking research
– The relationship between religious orientation and
sociocultural influences of body image.
• Limited research
– Investigating the interactions between the sociocultural
and protective factors that intrinsic religious
orientation may provide for young women.
• (Boyatzis, et al., 2007; Jacobs-Pilipski et al., 2005; Mahoney et al., 2005)
• Health and wellness education at private religious high schools and
colleges.
– Moral communities (Johnson & Mullins, 2006).
– Understand the literature of Allport’s religious orientation:
• Extrinsic Religious Orientation - Health-compromising
• Intrinsic Religious Orientation - Health-promoting
– (Forthun, 2003; Hathaway & Pargament, 1990)
• Educators at religious institutions may become more aware
of and focus on the risk factors associated with body image
dissatisfaction.
Sociocultural Theory
• Dissatisfaction with physical appearance stems from:
– the thin body ideal promulgated in Western societies
– “body as object” vs. “body as process” orientation
– the “thin is good”
• Rewards for being attractive
• Costs associated with being unattractive
(Morris, 2003)
• Mass Media
• Strongest conveyors sociocultural assumptions
–
(Stice et al., 1994)
• Religious Orientation:
– Intrinsic Religious Orientation
• Protective factor for:
– Health disparities (e.g., alcohol abuse, depression)
– Negative societal influences regarding physical appearance?
– Extrinsic Religious Orientation
• Health-compromising traits: anxiety, insecurity, and self-righteousness.
– (Forthun, 2003; Koenig et al., 1998)
Research Questions
•What is the relationship between religious orientation and body
image concerns among college female students?
•What is the relationship between religious orientation and the
“thin body ideal” among college female students?
•What is the relationship between body image concerns and the
“thin body ideal” among college female students?
•What is the relationship between religious orientation, body
image concerns and the “thin body ideal” among college female
students?
Procedures
• Random Sample
– e-mail link to Blackboard survey
– female undergraduate students ages of 18 – 24
– response rate of 41%, (N=231)
• A faith based University
– incorporate religious faith into the mission,
governance, administration, criteria for faculty hiring,
curricula, student life, campus ministries, policies, and
procedures of the university
(Litfin, 2004).
Variables
• Independent Variables
– Religious Orientation
• Intrinsic Religious Orientation
• Extrinsic Religious Orientation
• Dependent Variables
– Sociocultural attitudes towards appearance
•
•
•
•
Internalization General
Internalization Athletic
Media as Pressure
Media as Knowledge
– Body Image Concerns
•
•
•
•
Appearance Orientation
Appearance Evaluation
Overweight Preoccupation
Self-Classified Weight
Religious Orientation Scale
Subscale
Define
Scored
Intrinsic Religious
Orientation
(Continuous)
Lives his or her religion not
for their own purposes.
High scores suggest a high degree
on intrinsic religious orientation.
Low scores suggest a low degree
of intrinsic religious orientation.
*Cronbach’s alphas in the mid .80s
Extrinsic Religious
Orientation
(Continuous)
* Cronbach’s alphas in the mid .70s
Uses his or her religion for
their own purpose
(i.e., security, justification,
sociability)
High scores suggest a high degree
of extrinsic religious orientation.
Low scores suggest a low degree
of extrinsic religious orientation.
Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire- Appearance Scales
Subscale
Define
Scored
Appearance Evaluation
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .88
Individual’s reported feelings of
attractiveness & satisfaction with
ones looks.
High scores suggest positive satisfaction with
their appearance.
Low scores suggest dissatisfaction with their
appearance.
Appearance Orientation
(Continuous)
Extent of investment in one’s
appearance.
High scorers place more importance on how they
look and engage in extensive grooming
behaviors.
Low scorers, their looks are not as important to
them & they don’t expend much effort to look
good.
Reflects fat anxiety, weight
vigilance, dieting and eating
restraints.
High scores have high preoccupation with being
overweight.
Low scorers have a low preoccupation with being
overweight.
Reflects how one perceives and
labels ones weight, from very
underweight to very perception.
A mean score of 3 reflects a normal weight
perception.
Higher scores reflect overweight over-weight
perceptions.
Low scores reflect underweight perceptions.
*Cronbach’s alphas .85
Overweight Preoccupation
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .76
Self-Classified Weight
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .89
Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire-3
Subscale
Define
Internalization – General
(Continuous)
Degree to which one internalizes the High scores suggest a high degree of
societal emphasis of media influence internalization.
related to TV, magazines and movies Low scores suggest a low degree.
on appearance.
*Cronbach’s alphas .92
Internalization – Athletic
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .89
Pressure
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .94
Knowledge
(Continuous)
*Cronbach’s alphas .94
Degree to which one internalizes the
societal influence of athletic and
sport figures on appearance.
Scored
Same as above
Degree of pressure one feels from the High scores suggest high degree of
media to conform to appearance
pressure one feels from the media to
standards.
conform.
Low scores suggest low degree to
conform.
Degree to which one uses the media
as a knowledge informational source
on body image.
High scores suggest a high degree of
the use of media as an information
source.
Low scores suggest a low degree.
Demographics
Variable
n
%
Age
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
46
46
47
47
31
10
4
70
44
50
67
90
140
141
44
14
1
10
19
1.55
2.5
1.2
1.6
.49
2.05
1.87
38.8
60
Religion
Lutheran
Roman Catholic
Protestant
Muslim
No Religion
Other
20.1
30.3
19.0
21.6
28.9
Residence
Commuter
On-Campus
SD
19.9
19.9
20.3
20.3
13.4
4.3
1.7
Class
Freshmen
Sophomore
Junior
Senior
M
61.6
19.2
6
.4
4.3
8.3
Demographics (continued)
Variable
n
%
Ethnicity
White, Non-Hispanic
Black/African-American
Hispanic
Asian-Pacific Islander
187
18
24
1
22
34
28
42
42
31
17
6
7
126
64
34
1.3
.67
4.07
1.88
24.8
5.0
10.0
15.4
12.7
19.0
18.6
14.0
7.7
2.7
BMI
Below 18.5
18.5 – 24.9
25 – 29.9
30 or greater
SD
80.6
7.8
10.4
.4
Income
Under $25,000
$25,000 - $39,000
$40,000 - $49,000
$50,000 - $ 74,000
$75,000 - $99,999
$100,000 - $124,999
$125,000 – 149,999
Over $150,000
Mean
3.0
54.5
27.7
14.7
Descriptive Statistics of Study Variables (N=231)
Variable
Min
Max
Mean
SD
Intrinsic
1.0
5.0
3.56
.832
Extrinsic
1.0
4.82
2.49
.679
Appearance Orientation
1.08
5.0
3.46
.664
Appearance Evaluation
1.14
5.0
3.23
.810
Overweight Preoccupation
1.0
5.0
2.65
.916
Self-Classified Weight
1.50
5.0
3.36
.715
Media as Information
1.0
4.56
2.96
.915
Media as Pressure
1.0
5.0
3.31
1.00
Internalization – Athletic
1.0
5.0
3.27
.913
Internalization – General
1.0
5.0
3.11
.942
Religious Orientation
Body Image Concerns
Sociocultural Attitudes
Results
Correlation - Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religious Orientation
Extrinsic Religious Orientation
Intrinsic Religious Orientation
-.497**
Note. ** p < .01
Hypotheses 1:
Female college students who report higher scores of
intrinsic religiosity will have lower body image concerns.
Correlation Matrix
Intrinsic Religious Orientation & Body Image Concerns Subscales
Appearance
Orientation
Intrinsic
Religious
Orientation
Note. ** p < .01
-.119
Appearance
Evaluation
.195**
Overweight
Self-Classified
Preoccupation Weight
-.192**
.052
Hypothesis 2:
Female college students who report higher scores of extrinsic
religious orientation will have higher body image concerns.
Correlation Matrix
Extrinsic Religious Orientation & Body Image Concerns Subscales
Extrinsic
Religious
Orientation
Note. ** p < .01
Appearance
Orientation
Appearance
Evaluation
.296**
-.113
Overweight
Self-Classified
Preoccupation Weight
.236**
.022
Hypothesis 3:
Female college students who report higher scores of intrinsic
religiosity will have lower sociocultural influence scores.
Correlation Matrix
Intrinsic Religious Orientation & Sociocultural Attitudes Subscales
Intrinsic
Religious
Orientation
Note. ** p < .01
* p < .05
Information
Pressure
Internalization Internalization
Athletic
General
-.197*
.064
-.082
-.225**
Hypothesis 4:
Female college students who report higher scores of extrinsic
religiosity will have higher sociocultural attitudes scores.
Correlation Matrix
Extrinsic Religious Orientation & Sociocultural Attitudes Subscales
Extrinsic
Religious
Orientation
Note. ** p < .01
Information
Pressure
Internalization
Athletic
Internalization
General
.193**
.096
.125
.181**
Hypothesis 5:
Female college students who report higher sociocultural attitudes scores
will have higher positive body image concerns.
Correlation Matrix
Sociocultural Attitudes Subscales & Body Image Concerns Subscales
Appearance
Orientation
Appearance
Evaluation
Overweight
SelfPreoccupation Classified
Weight
Information
.361**
-.180*
.270**
.061
Pressure
.393**
-.488**
.618**
.288**
Internalization
Athletic
.164*
-.261**
.305**
.078
Internalization
General
.436**
-.426**
.575**
.096
Note. ** p < .01
* p < .05
• Hypothesis 6:
Higher levels of intrinsic
religious orientation scores
and lower levels of
sociocultural attitudes
scores will predict lower
body image concerns in
female college students.
• Hypothesis 7:
Higher levels of extrinsic
religious orientation scores
and higher levels of
sociocultural attitudes
scores will predict higher
body image concerns in
female college students.
Correlation Matrix among Dependent Body Image Concerns
Subscales & Demographic Variables
Variables
Age
Class
Appearance
Orientation
.029
.058
Residence
Religion
Ethnicity
BMI
Income
-.091
.130*
-.017
.022
.014
Appearance
Evaluation
-.013
.084
.022
.031
.201**
.432**
OverweightPreoccupation
.068
.137*
-.096
.126
-.103
.344**
.039
Self-Classified
Weight
.103
.127
-.020
.021
-.032
.755**
-.081
Note. ** p < .01
* p < .05
.063
Hierarchal Regression Analysis – Dependent variable Appearance Orientation
Variables
ΔR2
Step 1
.017
B
Sig
95% CI
.130
.048
[.004, 1.108]
Religion
.272
.144
[-.138, .934]
Extrinsic
.282
.000
[.167, .435]
Extrinsic
.212
.000
[.098, .347]
Information
.123
.093
[-.021, .259]
Pressure
.166
.073
[-.018, .396]
Internalization athletic
-.090
.173
[-.382, .069]
Internalization general
Total R2
.230
.023
[.008, .357]
Religion
Step 2
.078
Step 3
.175
Note. B = Standardized
.270
Hierarchal Regression Analysis – Dependent Variable Appearance Evaluation
Variables
ΔR2
Step I
.186
B
Sig
95% CI
-.432
.000
[-.626, -.367]
-.431
.000
[-.623, -.370]
.194
.001
[.064, .233]
BMI
-.367
.000
[-.536, -.294]
Intrinsic
.135
.013
[.022, .183]
Information
.129
.060
[-.005, .172]
Pressure
-.241
.008
[-.344, -.060]
Internalization athletic
-.035
.556
[-.195, .091]
Internalization general
-.265
.006
[-.280, -.025]
BMI
Step II
BMI
.038
Intrinsic
Step III
Total R2
Note. B = Standardized
.177
.401
Hierarchal Regression Analysis – Dependent Variable Overweight Preoccupation
Variables
ΔR2
Step I
.125
B
Sig
95% CI
BMI
-.331
.000
[.151, .334]
Class
.080
.206
[-.135,.623]
BMI
.309
.000
[.137, .317]
Class
.092
.137
[-.090, .652]
Intrinsic
-.124
.078
[-128, .007]
Extrinsic
.142
.045
[.001, .139]
BMI
.238
.000
[-.536, -.294]
Class
.019
.708
[ .132 , .358]
Intrinsic
-.052
.358
[-.080 .029]
Extrinsic
.107
.050
[-.002, .107]
Information
-.171
.006
[-.131, -.022]
Pressure
.350
.000
[.097, .271]
Internalization athletic
-.009
.867
[-.093, .079]
Internalization general
.377
.000
[.088, .239]
Step II
Step III
Total R2
Note. B = Standardized
.052
.328
.505
Hierarchal Regression Analysis – Dependent variable Self-Classified Weight
Variables
ΔR2
B
Sig
95% CI
.755
.000
[.737, .241]
.727
.000
[.183, .233]
.121
.006
[.007, .042]
Step I
.570
BMI
Step II
.014
BMI
Pressure
Total R2
Note. B = Standardized
.584
Conclusions
Intrinsic Religious Orientation
•
Consistently correlated with less influence from sociocultural attitudes towards appearance
and greater body image satisfaction.
•
Correlations mild to moderately significant, in support of the research hypothesis.
•
May promote:
– healthy sense of self-worth independent of the sociocultural attitudes towards appearance that can lead
to body image dissatisfaction.
– thinking of the body as holy and sacred and provides a cognitive framing that can enhance body image
(Boyatzis et al, 2007).
•
Explain only a small amount of the variance in only Appearance Evaluation.
• KEY
– Religious supporters need to look at and understand all the dimensions of
body image and the sociocultural influences when educating girls and
young women on body image satisfaction and its influences.
Extrinsic Religious Orientation
•
Consistently correlated with more influence from sociocultural attitudes towards appearance
and body image dissatisfaction in female college students.
•
Correlations were mild to moderately significant and in support of most of the research
hypothesis.
•
Explained some of the variance in Appearance Orientation and Overweight Preoccupation.
•
Surprising were the results from the correlation and regression results of extrinsic religious
orientation due to lack of focus.
•
May lack any guiding principles over the influences of sociocultural attitudes towards
appearance that can promote dissatisfaction with one’s own body.
•
Can be associated with a way of construction a worldly view on body image that can lead to
dissatisfaction.
Sociocultural Variables
• Sociocultural variables were significantly correlated with body
image concerns.
• Internalization general explained the majority of variance in body
image concerns.
– The societal emphasis of appearance through media related
influences, such as TV, magazines, and movies were found to
place more importance on their looks, feel less satisfied with
their appearance and were more likely to be preoccupied with
being overweight.
– Results, consistent with other studies
Demographic Variables
• Carefully chosen
– Significant correlations
– Explained most of the variance:
• appearance evaluation, overweight preoccupation and
self- classified weight.
• Women with a higher BMI felt lower feelings of
attractiveness and lower satisfaction with one’s looks,
were more likely to diet and carryout excessive eating
restraints and labeled themselves as overweight.
• Results, consistent with other studies
Limitations & Delimitations
Study is limited to:
Study is delimited to:
• Self - report may lead to
social desirability bias in
respondents.
•College aged students enrolled at the
university used for this study.
• Not experimental.
•Research of female’s self-reported
measures of the study variables.
Future Research
• Provide some support for the relationship between religious orientation and the
sociocultural attitudes towards appearance and body image satisfaction.
• Theory driven research and validated measures of religiosity.
• Results may foster new ideas and growth within the field of psychology and
religion.
• A similar study with a diverse religious and ethnic sample (secular institution).
• Scale that measure religious development.
• Longitudinal research comparing a religious sample and a secular sample.
• Participants could be followed from middle school through their college years.
References
•
Boyatzis, C., Kline, S., & Backof, S. (2007). Experimental Evidence that Theistic- Religious Body
Affirmations Improve Women's Body Image. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46 (4) 553 564.
•
Boyatzis, C. J., & McConnell, K. M. (2006) Quest orientation in young women: Age trends during
emerging adult and relations to body image an disordered eating. Internal Journal for the Psychology
of Religion. 16(3), 197 - 207.
•
Forthun, L. F., Pidcock B. W. & Fisher J. L. (2003). Religiousness and disordered eating: does
religiousness modify family risk? Eating Behaviors, 4 (1) 7 – 26.
•
Hathaway, W., & Pargament, K. (1990). Intrinsic religiousness, religious coping, and psychosocial
competence: A covariance structure analysis. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 29, 423441.
•
Jacobs - Pilipski, M. J., Winzelberg, A., Wilfey, D. E., Bryson, S. W., & Barr, T. C. (2005).
Spirituality among young women at risk for eating disorders. Eating Behaviors, 6(4) 293 – 300.
References (continued)
•
Johnson, M.A., & Mullins, P. (2006). Moral communities: Religious and secular. Journal of
Community Psychology, 18(2) 153 – 166.
•
Liftin, D. (2004). Conceiving the Christian College. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company
•
Mahoney, A., Carels, R. A., Pargament, K. I., Wachholtz, A., Leeper, L. E., Kaplar, M., & Frutchey,
R. (2005). The sanctification of the body and behavioral health patterns of college students. The
International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15(3), 221-238.
•
Morrison, T. G., (2004). Body-image evaluation and body-image investment among adolescents: a
test of sociocultural and social comparison theories. Adolescence, 39, 573-91.
•
Stice, E., Schupak-Neuberg, E., Shaw, H. E., & Stein, R. I. (1994). Relation of media exposure to
eating disorder symptomatology: An examination of mediating mechanisms. Journal of Abnormal
Psychology, 103, 836-840.
•
Tiggemann, M., & Pickering, A. S. (1996). Role of television in adolescent women's body
dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 20, 199 - 203.