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Zentralbl Bakteriol Orig B. 1976;163(1-4):268-310.

[Psychology of Hygiene: Rsult of a Comparative Study 1968/1976 (author's transl)].

[Article in German]


Object of the investigation is: (1) the analysis of the behaviour observed in adults between 18 and 23 years of age regarding cleanliness, body hygiene and changing of underwear,and a comparison of the results with those for 1968; (2) Differential "diagnosis" of the relationship between the degree of cleanliness and the various styles of the upbringing received at the hands of the parents, the different assessment of the personal body image and of cleanliness-related values ("cleanliness ideology"). Main results of the investigation (1) In 1976, too, women remain cleaner than men; the latter, however, have clearly improved their daily washing habits (lower part of the body, feet) and have taken to changing their underwear, night clothes and coloured shirts more frequently. With respect to the frequency with which women change their underwear there has been no change. (2) With respect to body hygiene and cosmetic care, women are found to be making increasing use of mouth-wash, foam bath agents, face lotions and face milk, nail polish, while men are making more use of mouth-wash, bubble bath agents as well as deodorants. In contrast, women are making less use of lip-sticks, eyebrow pencils, Eau de Cologne, (3) Women's behaviour with respect to the observed and evaluated parental upbringing and to their own body image is more differentiated: The 4-factor solution for women contrasts with the 3-factor solution for men. (4) Only a form of cleanliness training involving corporal punishment and associated with a tense or hostile relationship towards the mother or father cannot be correlated to a desirable observance of cleanliness. Other possible forms of cleanliness training including supervisory forms, do not prevent the learning and adoption of desirable practices for achieving cleanliness. (5) Less clean women show a generally less pronounced body-feeling as manifested in active physical exercise in some sports disciplines and in body care. There is also a tendency towards a less motivating criticism of the figure and a lower degree of positive bodily sensibility. As far as men are concerned, the intensity of body hygiene is positively linked with the degree of superficial good grooming and the simultaneous dissatisfaction with the figure. (6) Cleanliness-related concepts (cleanliness ideology) e.g. health, work, generosity rectitude, authority, attractiveness, integrity etc., are, in their evaluation, influenced both by sex and by the hygienic behavior practiced.

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