Comparison of female body images at a Christian college and secular university

Joy B Curtis, Tennessee State University


A large body of research exists indicating that the effects of body image on individuals' well-being and functioning are significant. Furthermore, it is well-known that media, friendship cliques, and other social environments impact body image. This study sought to explore the impact of religious social environment on body image by comparing the body satisfaction ratings of undergraduate females attending a Christian college with their cohorts attending a secular university. One hundred sixty-five undergraduate females at a Christian college and a secular university in middle Tennessee were asked to complete both the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire and the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality. Results suggested that participants from the secular university exhibited significantly higher body satisfaction ratings than those from the Christian college, though this difference disappeared when all non-Caucasian subjects were removed from the analysis. However, actual body mass index (BMI) had less effect on the body satisfaction ratings of the Christian college women than on the secular university women. It was also observed that the Christian college women had significantly higher BMIs than their counterparts and that the more easily the subjects were able to forgive themselves, the higher they scored in body satisfaction.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Womens studies|Educational psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Joy B Curtis, "Comparison of female body images at a Christian college and secular university" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1453600.