Title

An investigation of the relationship between parental bonding and body image disturbance among male and female college students

Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Lyddon

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between parental bonding and body image disturbance among male and female college students. Additionally, this study explored relationship among several factors believed to influence body image satisfaction including internalization of cultural ideals and tendency toward social comparison. Specific findings were as follows: (1) Individuals who reported optimal parental bonding also reported greater levels of body image satisfaction. Specifically, individuals who reported an optimal bonding relationship with their father considered themselves to be physically fit and were more invested in keeping physically fit than individuals who reported paternal relationships characterized by either affectionate constraint, affectionless control or as absent. Individuals who reported an optimal bonding relationship with their mother felt attractive and satisfied with their overall appearance, considered themselves physically fit, and were more invested in keeping physically fit than individuals who described maternal relationships characterized by affectionless, control; (2) There were no significant differences in levels of body image preoccupation and investment in appearance as a function of parental bonding category; (3) There were no significant differences in internalization of cultural ideals and tendency toward social comparison as a function of parental bonding category; (4) Internalization of cultural ideals and tendency toward social comparison, two measures of cultural influences, served to mediate the relationship between maternal bonding and two measures of body image satisfaction. Internalization of cultural ideals also slightly mediated the relationship between maternal bonding and another measure of body image satisfaction; (5) The current data did not fit an apriori model of body image disturbance; (6) Body image satisfaction varied according to gender, race, and body mass index.