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Influences of peers’ and family members’ body shapes on perception of body image and desire for thinness in Japanese female students

Authors Mase T, Ohara K, Miyawaki C, Kouda K, Nakamura H

Received 4 February 2015

Accepted for publication 17 April 2015

Published 24 June 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 625—633


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Tomoki Mase,1 Kumiko Ohara,2,3 Chiemi Miyawaki,4 Katsuyasu Kouda,5 Harunobu Nakamura2

1Department of Childhood Education, Kyoto Seibo College, Kyoto, Japan; 2Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan; 3Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan; 4Department of Early Childhood Education, Heian Jogakuin (St Agnes’) College, Kyoto, Japan; 5Department of Public Health, Kinki University Faculty of Medicine, Osakasayama, Japan

Purpose: The present study investigated the influence of peers’ and family members’ body shapes on the perception of body image and desire for thinness in Japanese female students.
Methods: The study included 342 female, Japanese university students between the ages of 18 years and 22 years. They completed an anonymous questionnaire, which included questions related to anthropometry and body perception. Eating behavior was assessed by the Japanese version of the Eating Attitude Test-26.
Results: Many students overestimated their body shape (81.2% of underweight students and 74.6% of normal students) and had a desire for thinness (41.0% of underweight students, 88.2% of normal students, and 100% of overweight students). One of the main reasons for the overestimation of their body shape was comparison with others. Participants who were interested in a friend’s body shape were almost three times more likely to have a desire for thinness than those who were not interested in a female friend’s body shape (odds ratio: 3.06, P=0.014).
Conclusion: The results indicate a possibility that a female Japanese student’s young female friends’ body shapes, influences her desire for thinness or her perception of her own body shape.

Keywords: body perception, body shape, desire for thinness, female students

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