Body image is a multifaceted, multidimensional concept that embodies the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that a person has and expresses related to their appearance, weight, and shape. A classic meta-analysis helped demonstrate why body image is so important for psychosocial functioning. This study, a review of the attractiveness literature, demonstrated that the correlation between the objective attractiveness (as determined by expert raters) and an individual's self-rating of attractiveness was only 0.24 for men (and 0.25 for women; Feingold, 1992). This means that only just over6%of one's body image is explained by actual physical attractiveness to others. Interestingly, however, it is the subjective rating?not the objective one?that is significantly associated with self-esteem (Feingold, 1992). Researchers and clinicians have suggested a continuum model as the best way to conceptualize body image (Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe&Tantleff-Dunn, 1999). This model suggests that body image disturbance can range from none to extreme with most people falling somewhere near the middle and experiencing mild to moderate concern or dissatisfaction (Thompson et al., 1999). However, a number of subgroups and individual differences may place people at greater risk for falling on the extreme end of the continuum (Thompson et al., 1999).
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