Development of a Body Dissatisfaction Scale Assessment Tool

  • Gabriella J Mutale Nottingham Trent University
  • Andrew K Dunn Nottingham Trent University
  • James Stiller Nottingham Trent University
  • Rebecca Larkin Nottingham Trent University


The present research details the development of a new pictorial scale (Body Dissatisfaction Scale) to be used in the measurement of body dissatisfaction. The scale comprises nine female and nine male images of computer generated bodies that increase successively in body weight. Using a sample of 190 students (female = 130, male = 60) results showed that the new scale exhibits good validity, with participants being able to correctly identify body weight differences between all bodies in the scale. Evidence for construct validity was demonstrated by significant correlations between ratings of perceived actual body size using the current scale and participants’ BMI. Body dissatisfaction measured using the current scale was also negatively correlated with a measure of body appreciation. Test-retest reliability remained stable over a 5 week period. The scale improves on previous pictorial scales by offering both male and female versions while offering improved realism and consistency between images.


Avalos, L., Tylka, T. L., & Wood-Barcalow, N. (2005). The body appreciation scale: Development and psychometric evaluation. Body Image, 2(3), 285-297. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.06.002

Baguley, T. (2012). Serious statistics: A guide to advanced statistics for the behavioral sciences. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Bateson, M., Cornelissen, P. L., & Tovée, M. J. (2007). Methodological issues in studies of female attractiveness. In V. Swami & A. Furnham (Eds.), Body beautiful: Evolutionary and sociocultural perspective (pp. 46-63). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Cattarin, J. A., & Thompson, J. K. (1994). A three-year longitudinal study of body image, eating disturbance, and general psychological functioning in adolescent females. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 2(2), 114-125. doi:10.1080/10640269408249107

Collins, M. E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among pre-adolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10(2), 199-208. doi:10.1002/1098-108X(199103)10:2<199::AID-EAT2260100209>3.0.CO;2-D

Crossley, K. L., Cornelissen, P. L., & Tovée, M. J. (2012). What is an attractive body? Using an interactive 3D program to create the ideal body for you and your partner. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e50601. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050601

Drewnowski, A., & Yee, D. K. (1987). Men and body image: Are males satisfied with their body weight? Psychosomatic Medicine, 49(6), 626-634. doi:10.1097/00006842-198711000-00008

Gardner, R. M., Friedman, B. N., & Jackson, N. A. (1998). Methodological concerns when using silhouettes to measure body image. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 86(2), 387-395. doi:10.2466/pms.1998.86.2.387

Gardner, R. M., Jappe, L. M., & Gardner, L. (2009). Development and validation of a new figural drawing scale for body-image assessment: The BIAS-BD. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 114-122. doi:10.1002/jclp.20526

Garner, D. (2002). Body image and anorexia nervosa. In T. F. Cash & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice (pp. 295-303). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Garner, D. M., Olmsted, M. P., & Polivy, J. (1983). Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2, 15-34. doi:10.1002/1098-108x(198321)2:2<15::aideat2260020203>;2-6

Grogan, S. (2008). Culture and body image. In S. Grogan (Ed.), Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women and children (pp. 9-40). Hove, UK: Routledge.

Hoenig, J. M., & Heisey, D, M. (2001). The Abuse of Power. The American Statistician, 55, 19-24. doi:10.1198/000313001300339897

Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1998). Sexual behavior in the human male. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Maisey, D. S., Vale, E., Cornelissen, P. L., & Tovée, M. J. (1999). Characteristics of male attractiveness for women. Lancet, 353(9163), 1500-1500. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)00438-9

Pope, H. G., Phillips, K. A., & Olivardia, R. (2000). The adonis complex: The secret crisis of male body obsession. New York, NY: Free Press.

Singh, D. (1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: Role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 293-307. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.65.2.293

Smink, F., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H. W. (2012). Epidemiology of eating disorders: Incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 406-414. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0282-y

Spencer, E. A., Appleby, P. N., Davey, G. K., & Key, T. J. (2001). Validity of self-reported height and weight in 4808 EPIC-oxford participants. Public Health Nutrition, 5, 561-565. doi:10.1079/PHN2001322

Stunkard, A. J., Sorensen, T., & Schulsinger, F.(1983). Use of the Danish adoption register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. S. Kety, L. P. Rowland, R. L. Sidman, & S. W. Matthysse (Eds.), The genetics of neurological and psychiatric disorder (pp. 115-120). New York, NY: Raven.

Swami, V., Einon, D., & Furnham, A. (2006). The leg-to-body ratio as a human aesthetic criterion. Body Image, 3(4), 317-323. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2006.08.003

Swami, V., Furnham, A., & Joshi, K. (2008). The influence of skin tone, hair length, and hair colour on ratings of women’s physical attractiveness, health and fertility. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49(5), 429-437. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2008.00651.x

Swami, V., Salem, N., Furnham, A., & Tovée, M. J. (2008a). Initial examination of the validity and reliability of the female photographic figure rating scale for body image assessment. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(8), 1752-1761. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.02.002

Swami, V., Salem, N., Furnham, A., & Tovée, M. J. (2008b). The influence of feminist ascription on judgements of women’s physical attractiveness. Body Image, 5(2), 224-229. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2007.10.003

Swami, V., & Tovée, M. J. (2005). Male physical attractiveness in Britain and Malaysia: A crosscultural study. Body Image, 2(4), 383-393. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.08.001

Swami, V., & Tovée, M. J. (2006). Does hunger influence judgments of female physical attractiveness? British Journal of Psychology, 97(3), 353-363. doi:10.1348/000712605X80713

Swami, V., & Tovée, M. J. (2008). The muscular male: A comparison of the physical attractiveness preferences of gay and heterosexual men. International Journal of Men’s Health, 7(1), 59-71. doi:10.3149/jmh.0701.59

Tassinary, L. G., & Hansen, K. A. (1998). A critical test of the waist-to-hip-ratio hypothesis of female physical attractiveness. Psychological Science, 9(2), 150-155. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00029

Thomas, L. (1997). Retrospective power analysis. Conservation Biology, 11, 276–280. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1997.96102.x

Thompson, J. K., & Altabe, M. N. (1991). Psychometric qualities of the figure rating scale. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10(5), 615-619. doi:10.1002/1098-108X(199109)10:5<615::AID-EAT2260100514>3.0.CO;2-K

Thompson, M. A., & Gray, J. J. (1995). Development and validation of a new body image assessment scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 64(2), 258-269. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6402_6

Tiggemann, M. (2011). Sociocultural perspectives of human appearance and body image. In T. F. Cash & L. Smolak (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of science, practice and prevention (2nd ed., pp. 12-19). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Tovée, M. J., Edmonds, L., & Vuong, Q. C. (2012). Categorical perception of human female physical attractiveness and health. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(2), 85-93. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.05.008