An examination of ethnic differences in actual-ideal weight discrepancy and its correlates in a sample of Malaysian women

Viren Swami*, Martin Tovée, Amy Sunshine Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined ethnic differences in actual-ideal body weight discrepancy and its correlates among a sample of Malaysian adult women. A total of 459 Malays, 307 Chinese and 150 Indians from Kuala Lumpur completed measures of their actual-ideal body weight discrepancy, sociocultural messages about appearance, self-reported body mass index (BMI) and demographics. Results showed that Chinese women had smaller actual-ideal body weight discrepancy scores than both Malay and Indian women, although the effect size of this difference was small (ηp2=.01). There were also significant ethnic differences in the internalisation of media messages about appearance, although effect sizes were likewise small. Further analyses revealed that sociocultural messages about appearance and self-reported BMI explained between 28% and 47% of the variance in actual-ideal body weight discrepancy for the three ethnic groups, respectively. These results are discussed in relation to the extant literature on body image in the Malaysian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-107
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Culture and Mental Health
Volume6
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

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