Date of Award:

5-1996

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Kinesiology and Health Science

Department name when degree awarded

Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Advisor/Chair:

Steven R. Hawks

Abstract

Body image has been addressed through weight loss, but little research has been done that addresses accepting one' s body. Even less research has been done on the body image concerns of older adults. Adults over age 60 who live in Arizona and spend their summers in Logan, Utah, participated in a body image education at Utah State University. The Body Esteem Scale and the Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes were used to measure the effect of the course on the participants. Older adults on average scored as high or higher than did younger older adults on both measurements.

Body image and psychological attitudes were found to correlate. However, the body image course did not produce significant improvement in the body image or psychological attitudes of participants. This may be due to older adults evaluating their body image by function rather than appearance or because body image is disregarded as a component of self-esteem. The demographic characteristics of age, gender, and body size were found to have no impact on body image or psychological attitudes. This may be due to a small sample size, the unique population, and a short-term intervention.

Further research on the importance of body image to older adults who are less healthy--possibly in a care setting--may provide information on the changeability and value of body image in older adults.

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