Compensatory Efforts for Body Dissatisfaction: Some Gender and Ethnic Differences

Lorraine Benuto, Amanda Haboush, Sharon Jones-Forrester


Traditionally, research has characterized body dissatisfaction as occurring primarily among EuroAmerican women, although conflicting results exist. Using analysis of variance and chi-square analyses, the present study examined gender and ethnic differences in body dissatisfaction and externalizing compensatory behaviors (i.e., dieting, diet pill use, diet shake use) and desire to alter physical appearance via plastic surgery in a diverse sample of undergraduate college students (N = 82). Results indicated that more women than men diet, use diet aids, and endorse a desire for plastic surgery. No gender differences in body satisfaction were found. In terms of ethnic differences, Hispanic Ameri- cans endorsed less body satisfaction than other ethnic groups. No ethnic differences were identified in externalizing compensatory behaviors. These results suggest that body dissatisfaction is not exclusive to EuroAmerican women. Although male gender and non-EuroAmerican ethnicity were previously thought to be potential buffers against body dissatisfaction, the present study suggests the need to reexamine these assumptions. 

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