Date of Conferral

2020

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Reba Glidewell

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction is often a precursor to eating disorders and a variety of destructive behaviors that put a person at risk physically and reduce a person’s quality of life. This study added to the growing literature on ethnic differences in perceptions of the body by comparing Alaska Native and Alaskan White women on 4 measures. These included a demographic questionnaire, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults, the Contour Drawing Rating Scale, and the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale. The theoretical framework for the study consisted of social comparison theory and feminist theory. A convenience sample of 134 Alaska Native and White women was used to compare body dissatisfaction. Participants completed the four instruments online via Survey Monkey. A MANCOVA with BMI as a covariate was performed with separate ANCOVAs to assess for significant dependent variables. Alaska Native women reported less body dissatisfaction when compared to White women. The study’s findings about Alaska Native women’s body image may promote positive social change by providing a new cultural perspective on body dissatisfaction. With this perspective, clinicians may pause in making assumptions about minority cultures having protection against the idealized thin body images prevalent in the dominant culture. This new perspective could, in turn, help improve treatment options for Alaska Natives by promoting culturally sensitive interventions for treating different ethnic groups who suffer from body dissatisfaction and its consequences.

Available for download on Thursday, February 11, 2021

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