Body dissatisfaction and body change behaviors in Chile: The role of sociocultural factors

With interest in body image and body change behaviors growing around the world, there has been surprisingly little research conducted in Latin America on these issues. In order to gain some understanding of them in this context, this study investigated body image and body change behaviors, and the sociocultural factors that may influence them, among 337 Chilean adolescents aged 1218 years. Participants completed a questionnaire that assessed BMI, body dissatisfaction, strategies to lose weight and strategies to increase muscle bulk. In addition, perceived pressure from family, peers, and the media to change body shape was evaluated. Results were partially consistent with those reported in Western nations. Girls were found to report greater body dissatisfaction than boys, but no difference was found between males and females in perceived pressure from adults in the family or from older siblings/cousins to lose weight. However, girls experienced higher levels of perceived pressure to lose weight from the media than boys, and boys reported greater perceived pressure from peers to lose weight than girls, and more pressure than girls from all sources to increase muscle bulk. These findings are discussed in relation to research conducted in other contexts, and it is concluded that findings from other locations may not be applied universally. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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