The thinner the better: Evidence on the internalization of the slimness ideal in Chinese college students

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Wang, Kui
Liang, Rui
Yu, Xinyang
Shum, David HK
Roalf, David
Chan, Raymond CK
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2020
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Abstract

Internalization of the “thin ideal” is a risk factor for eating pathology. It is unclear how pervasive the thin ideal is among young Chinese. In the current study, 97 participants reported their subjective willingness to be thin and their eating‐disorder‐related weight‐controlling behaviors, and then finished a picture judgment task to implicitly detect their perception of the importance of thinness to attractiveness. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the data. Among female participants, 79.59% wanted a thinner body. Participants' level of willingness to be thin correlated positively with frequency of eating‐disorder‐related weight‐controlling behaviors, r = .47, p <  .05. In the implicit task, the judgment of others' attractiveness correlated negatively with body mass index (BMI) evaluation, and this relationship was stronger for women's pictures than for men's pictures. Additionally, an individual's willingness to be thin enhanced the relationship between BMI evaluation and attractiveness judgment. The notion “the thinner the better” seems to be widely accepted among young Chinese.

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PsyCh Journal

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This publication has been entered in Griffith Research Online as an advanced online version.

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Subject

Psychology

Cognitive and computational psychology

Social Sciences

Psychology, Multidisciplinary

attractiveness

body dissatisfaction

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Wang, K; Liang, R; Yu, X; Shum, DHK; Roalf, D; Chan, RCK, The thinner the better: Evidence on the internalization of the slimness ideal in Chinese college students, PsyCh Journal, 2020

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