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J Sex Res. 1991;28(3):457-477.

Body Image for Women: Conceptualization, Assessment, and a Test of its Importance to Sexual Dysfunction and Medical Illness.

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1
Ohio State University.

Abstract

The content and valence of women's body image attitudes, general and enduring positive or negative feelings about the body, are studied with psychometric analyses of measures and contrasted groups. Data from two frequently used measures (Body Image Scale, Derogatis & Melisaratos, 1979; Body Satisfaction Scale, Berscheid, Walster & Bohrnstedt, 1973) provided an evaluation of the construct and the assessment of body image. Two studies are provided. The construct analyses suggest two contents for body attitude measures: a general factor of body, facial, and sexual (genital and breast) items, and a second factor assessing weight and/or its body correlates-the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Also, a method factor, a response style of negativity, may be important. Body image attitudes are correlated with some conceptually relevant criteria, such as interest in engaging in sexual activity; however, these relationships do not appear sufficiently strong to predict behavior, such as the occurrence or resolution of sexual dysfunction. Generalized body image disturbance as currently conceptualized and assessed may be difficult to document, particularly when item content and response styles are considered.

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