Gender and ethnic differences in body image and opposite sex figure preferences of rural adolescents
This study examined whether rural adolescents would report gender and ethnic differences in body image similar to those that have been observed in urban samples. Data were analyzed for 384 rural adolescents (57% African American, 43% Caucasian, mean age 13 years) to determine gender and ethnic differences in body dissatisfaction, body size discrepancy, and current and ideal figure ratings. Females wanted to be smaller and reported more body dissatisfaction than did males. Caucasian females reported the most body dissatisfaction. African Americans reported larger current and ideal figure ratings than did Caucasians. African Americans preferred larger opposite sex figures than did Caucasians. Both African American and Caucasian males selected a larger female figure as ideal than was selected by females. Results demonstrated that gender and ethnic differences exist in body image for rural adolescents. This frequently overlooked population may benefit from further study. Implications of findings and limitations of the study are also discussed.