Research in psychology today seems to be drawn towards particular fields of interest especially when it comes to understanding human behavior. One of the most common research topics for social psychology is body image and the perceptions that are related to age groups, genders, and ethnicities. Young people today are pressured by society to make physical appearance a dominant factor in their everyday lives, and the pressure is found not only through media influence but friends and family as well (Pavica, 2010). These pressures can affect many different aspects of a person’s life and significantly influence their actions. The aspects affected by body image can include popularity among peers, social comfort, and the attitudes an individual comes to commit to behavior (Lewis & Rosenblum, 1999).
Studies of body image in the past have gained varying results as to the groups that are affected, as well as the amount of impact body image has with these groups. There has also been much debate over the validity of methods used to judge body image, and how well the measurements used actually correlate participants’ actual views of body image (Cash, Morrow, Hrabosky, & Perry 2004). Some factors that have led to this discrepancy in answers are questions that were framed to be more suitable to attain the attitudes of one gender over another. The initial studies of body image focused upon simply body shape which seemed to be more important to women, whereas body image affects were seen for men when questions of muscle definition were included into the questionnaire process (Ridgeway, & Tylka, 2005).
This study hopes to gain a more in depth view of a demographic that is believed to put a great amount of focus on body image in the way they engage life, which our group believes to be late adolescents to mid-20s. Many studies have focused primarily on how people feel about their bodies and affects that media has played in those views (Pavica, 2010), but the focus of this study will deal with the individuals assessment of their own body. The goal of this study is to observe how the physical state perceived by the individual affects the psychological and emotional states that they incorporate into their everyday lives. From the participants evaluation a greater focus will be on the relations of self-assessment to an individual’s confidence and self-esteem level. The link between these aspects can possibly shed light on how decisions and lives are altered by self-interpreted appearance, specifically body image. In addition, there is evidence which supports the theory that body image dissatisfaction affects both genders. By creating and enhancing a positive body image, a person greatly increases their self-esteem (Ratanasiripong & Burkey, 2011).
A study was conducted that asked college aged men to rate their body image either positively or negatively, and found that “self-perceptions of those overweight were indistinguishable” from a similar female sample...