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Self-body recognition and attitudes towards body image in younger and older women

Bellard, AM, Urgesi, C and Cazzato, V (2021) Self-body recognition and attitudes towards body image in younger and older women. Archives of Women's Mental Health. ISSN 1434-1816

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Despite the fact that ageing causes dramatic changes in bodily appearance, little is known about how self-body recognition changes across life span. Here, we investigated whether older, compared to younger women, differed in the ability of recognising their own than other women’s body parts and whether this effect was associated to negative body image dispositions. Twenty-eight young (Mage: 25.93 years, SDage = 4.74) and 25 middle-aged (Mage: 54.36 years, SDage = 4.54) women completed an implicit task consisting of visual matching of self and others’ body parts and an explicit self–other body discrimination task. Stimuli comprised of images of body parts of the participant and of other age- and BMI-matched models, which were presented in the original size or modified to look rounder or thinner. Measures of adiposity (i.e. BMI), body image concerns and appearance-related worries for specific body parts and for the whole body were also collected. Whilst both groups showed a self-body advantage in the implicit, but not in the explicit task, the advantage was notably bigger for the younger group. However, the implicit self-advantage was higher in those middle-aged women that displayed more body image concerns and worries for specific body parts. Furthermore, the two groups were comparably less able in recognising their body parts when presented thinner as compared to rounder or in their actual size. Overall, these findings open the possibility that, as women age, their implicit self-recognition abilities may decline in association with more negative body image dispositions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2021 09:32
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 05:08
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s00737-021-01164-x
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15373
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