Losing your looks? Body image and self-esteem in 'middle-aged' men and women

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Browne, Tanya
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Body image and self-esteem in men and women (35 to 64 years) was examined. A questionnaire based social survey, consisting of the BIQLI, MBSRQ-AS, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, was administered to (N=135) respondents. 59 men and 76 women were recruited from evening classes of non-traditional Psychology students in DBS School of Arts and from a convenience sample of the public in Co. Tipperary. The dependent variables were the respondents age and sex. The independent variables were the responses to the three scales. A Pearsons correlation supported the first hypoFinal Year Project that a higher score on the BIQLI questionnaire would correlate with a higher self-esteem (as indicated by lower scores) by showing a significant negative correlation (r=-.280, p<.01, 1 tailed). An Independent Samples t-test partially supported the second hypoFinal Year Project that there would be a difference between male and female scores on the subscales of the MBSRQ-AS by showing a significant difference for the Body Areas Satisfaction subscale (t(133)=2.709, p<.01, 2 tailed) and for the Overweight Preoccupation subscale (t(133)=4.196, p<.01, 2 tailed) only. These findings suggest that overall, middle-aged men and women express a positive impact of body image on their quality of life, which correlates with a high self-esteem. The findings also suggest that middle-aged men and women hold similar views on the importance of physical appearance, but middle-aged men report more dissatisfaction with discrete areas of their bodies, and more preoccupation with weight concerns. The findings then, highlight the importance of conducting further body image research on the middle-aged population, which is directed towards the specific body image concerns of middle-aged men in particular.