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Body Image. 2010 Jan;7(1):86-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Nov 11.

Social connectedness, conformity, and internalization of societal standards of attractiveness.

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  • 1School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Internalization of societal standards of attractiveness is known to play a role in the development of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, and researchers are now working toward identifying factors that influence the internalization of those societal standards. The present study examined to what extent social connectedness and conformity were related to internalization. Female college students (n=300) completed measures of social connectedness, conformity, and internalization, as well as measures of body image concerns, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms. Path analysis showed that social connectedness was negatively related to conformity, and that conformity was positively related to internalization. Consistent with past research, internalization predicted body image concerns and dietary restraint, which in turn predicted bulimic symptoms. Conformity appears to be a risk factor for the internalization of societal standards of attractiveness, and could be targeted in efforts to reduce internalization, negative body image, and disordered eating.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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