Body image disturbances are associated with a variety of health compromising behaviors; however, less is known about their impact on health maintenance behaviors. The present study investigated the relationship between body image disturbances and the frequency of a specific body-focused health maintenance behavior: breast self-examination (BSE). It was hypothesized that two manifestations of body image disturbance, body shame and body avoidance, would be negatively associated with frequency of BSE in the past year and intended frequency of BSE in the coming year. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that health anxiety and risk perception for breast cancer would moderate the relationship between body image disturbance and frequency of BSE in the past year. As a secondary research question, the impact of body image disturbance on the self-reported level of negative affect experienced during BSE was investigated.
Participants were 120 women between the ages of 21 and 40 (M age = 24.14, SD = 4.78; M BMI = 24.73, SD = 5.75) recruited from a large public university. Following informed consent, participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires assessing demographic variables, body image disturbances, BSE behaviors and intentions, health anxiety, and risk perception. Participants were also encouraged to complete follow-up questionnaires for three months assessing frequency of BSE and associated negative affect.
Results showed that when the entire sample was considered, neither body shame nor body avoidance were significantly associated with past year BSE or BSE intentions and neither health anxiety nor risk perception emerged as moderators. However, when only women ages 22 to 40 years old were considered in post hoc analyses, body shame significantly predicted past year BSE and both body shame and body avoidance significantly predicted BSE intentions. Additionally, risk perception emerged as a predictor of past year BSE. An additional post hoc analysis revealed that age moderated the relationship between risk perception and past year BSE when the entire sample was considered. Follow-up data revealed that neither body avoidance nor body shame significantly predicted affect during BSE after controlling for physical discomfort. These findings have important implications for health promotion among women of all ages.
|Advisor:||Crowther, Janis H.|
|School:||Kent State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Clinical psychology, Health care management|
|Keywords:||Body avoidance, Body image, Body image disturbances, Body shame, Breast cancer, Health anxiety, Risk perception|
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