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Eat Disord. 2001 Spring;9(1):29-39.

Body image, body dissatisfaction, and eating attitudes in midlife and elderly women.

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California State University, Los Angeles, USA.


Cohort differences in body image, drive for thinness, and eating attitudes in middle-aged and elderly women were examined. Participants were 125 women between the ages of 50 and 65 (middle-aged group), and 125 women 66 years old and older (elderly group). Instruments used were figure ratings (Stunkard, Sorensen, & Schulsinger, 1983), and scales of the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI; Garner,Olmstead, & Polivy, 1983). Items were developed to assess fear of aging. The middle-aged group, as compared to the elderly group, had more drive for thinness, disinhibited eating, and interoceptive confusion. The elderly group reported body size preferences and levels of body dissatisfaction that were similar to the younger women. There was a positive relationship between fear of aging and disordered eating. Sociocultural standards of body image and pressures toward thinness affect different generations of older women in similar ways.

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