Life satisfaction and body image confidence: Health risk factors for African-American college women

Lisa Lorenzen, Tennessee State University


This study examined how differences in body sizes of African-American college women impacted life satisfaction, fat anxiety, personal and family health, and body image confidence. The purpose of the present study was twofold. The primary objective was to better understand the effects of how different factors of body size, personal and family health histories, and fat anxiety relate to body image confidence in the life satisfaction of African-American college women. The second purpose of the study was to examine what relationship there was, if any, between personal health and body image confidence in African-American college women's life satisfaction. Participants were 218 female African-American undergraduate and graduate students from Tennessee State University. Age of the participants ranged from 18 to 62 years, with a mean of 22.67 years (SD = 5.88). Body Mass Index was calculated and all participants completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale, two subscales of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire, and a Personal and Family Health form. The findings of this study suggested that despite having a body size considered overweight, obese, or morbidly obese the African-American college women in this sample endorsed high levels of life satisfaction. This study also found participants with larger body sizes endorsed more personal and family health problems than those participants with smaller body sizes. Another outcome of the study, indicated participants with good personal health reported higher life satisfaction than those with poor personal health. Also, African-American women with less fat anxiety reported higher life satisfaction than African-American women with higher fat anxiety. The final outcome of this study, demonstrated lower fat anxiety was reported by participants with smaller body sizes than those participants with larger body sizes. Limitations of the present study and implications for future research are included.

Subject Area

Black studies|Womens studies|Clinical psychology|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Lisa Lorenzen, "Life satisfaction and body image confidence: Health risk factors for African-American college women" (2009). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3369441.