Culture and maternal influences on daughter's body image and eating habits

Paige N Wettern, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how mothers across different cultures (African American and Caucasian American) living in the society influence their daughter's body image and eating habits. Specifically, the study examined daughters' perceptions of mothers' influence on body image and eating habits. Participants included a total of 210 African American and Caucasian American females from the Psychology subject pool at Tennessee State University. Four measures were used, including a demographic questionnaire, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults, the Mother Influence Scale, and Maternal Attitudes Towards Physical Appearance. Data analyses included three Multiple Analyses of Variance (MANOVA). Results from the study indicated that there are no significant differences in maternal influence on body image and eating habits across the African American and Caucasian American cultures. African American daughters did not perceive their mothers to be more encouraging of a curvier body shape and Caucasian American daughters did not perceive their mothers to be more encouraging of a thinner body shape. Additionally, African American daughters did not perceive their mothers as having a more positive impact on their body image than Caucasian American females. It was also determined that there are no significant differences in maternal use of diets to lose weight, desire to be thin, and emphasis placed on physical appearance between the African American and Caucasian American cultures. African American daughters did not perceive their mothers to be less likely to use diets to lose weight, less likely to have a desire to be thin, nor less likely to place emphasis on physical appearance. However, it was determined that there is a significant difference between Caucasian American females' and African American females' perceptions of their bodies. Past research suggests that African American females have better perceptions of their bodies because they have their own cultural ideas of beauty that differ from the thin Caucasian American standards of beauty. Findings from this study support this theory. ^

Subject Area

African American Studies|Black Studies|Women's Studies|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Paige N Wettern, "Culture and maternal influences on daughter's body image and eating habits" (2011). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1494877.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI1494877

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