Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Eyal Gringart

Abstract

Purpose: Given the global trend of population ageing and the fact that Australia will experience a significant increase in the proportion of older adults, research into ageing issues has become a National priority. Whilst body image and self-esteem have been empirically linked, the relationship among older adults has been neglected. The present study investigated several body image variables and their relationship to self-esteem in a sample of older adults. Design and Methods: Questionnaires consisting of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire were administered to 148 adults aged between 65 and 85 years, living independently in the Perth metropolitan area, Western Australia. Results: The relationship between body image and self-esteem does not appear to weaken as people age. Whilst the variables that influence body image may very as a function of age and gender, the results of the present study indicate that body image remains a central issue to older adults, who continue experiencing cultural pressures to conform to youthful ideals. Whilst women appear to develop a range of strategies in an attempt to counter the effects of ageing, men appear to be more negatively affected by it, particularly in terms of factors associated with body functioning. Implications: Professionals working with older adults could benefit from understanding the meaning of body image, the factors that could affect this concept, and how these may influence older adults' self-esteem. Such outcomes are likely to assist older adults to develop a body image that will contribute to psychosocial strengths and enhance their quality of life.

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