Internalization of the thin ideal, weight, and body image concerns

Kathryn Graff Low1, Swita Charanasomboon1, Claire Brown1, Gwen Hiltunen1, Katherine Long1, Katherine Reinhalter1, Hannah Jones2
1Bates College, United States
2Wheaton College, United States
Cite this article:  Graff Low, K., Charanasomboon, S., Brown, C., Hiltunen, G., Long, K., Reinhalter, K., & Jones, H. (2003). Internalization of the thin ideal, weight, and body image concerns. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 31, 81-90.

Volume 31 Issue 1 | e1228 | Published: February 2003 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2003.31.1.81

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Weight and shape concerns in college women are epidemic. Understanding the role of the thin ideal in the development of such concerns is critical for designing prevention programs. This study examines the association between the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995), a measure of internalization and awareness of the thin ideal, and eating and body image concerns in college women. 70 undergraduates completed questionnaires on eating symptomatology, body image, and demographics. In general, internalization, but not awareness, of the thin ideal was associated with eating and weight concerns. In a two-way analysis of body mass and dichotomized SATAQ internalization scores, body mass moderated the effects of internalization, with over-
weight women high in internalization having the most body image concerns. Prospectively, SATAQ-internalization scores predicted increasing drive for thinness over the school year in a subsample of women. Future research should explore the moderating effects of weight on outcomes related to internalization of the thin ideal.


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