International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 4 Num. 1 - April 2004


Subjective Body Image Dimensions in Normal Female Population: Evolution Through Adolescence and Early Adulthood [Dimensiones Subjetivas de la Imagen Corporal en Poblaci?n Femenina Normal: Evoluci?n a lo Largo de la Adolescencia y la Adultez Temprana]

Volume 4 Num. 1 - April 2004 - Pages 1-10


Araceli Gila, Josefina Castro, Josep Toro and Manel Salamero


To study subjective body dimensions in a sample of the adolescent and young female general population using a body site perception apparatus, and to obtain profile charts for different age groups. The subjects were 802 female adolescents and young girls ranging in age from 11 to 24, students at different schools and at University. The evaluation technique used was a new method for assessing body distortion which indicates the subject?s idea of the size of the different parts of his/her body, and produces a life size global silhouette. Taken the sample as a whole, subjects significantly overestimated certain parts of their body: thorax, waist and hips (p<.001). Profile charts of differences between subjective and actual dimensions for the total group were calculated. At centile 50 thorax, waist and hips were overestimated by some 5 to 6 cm by all subjects and age groups. The overestimations of girls between 11 and 13 years were significantly higher than those of girls at other ages (p<.001). Girls who gave overestimations of the thorax one standard deviation above the mean in thorax were significantly heavier, taller and had higher body mass index than girls who gave overestimations of one standard deviation below (p<.001). Girls from the general population overestimated certain parts of their bodies, especially girls between 11 and 13 years of age. The largest overestimations were recorded in the subjects with greater height, weight and body mass index.

Key words:

body image, normal population, overestimation.

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