Body Dissatisfaction, Self-Focus, and Dieting Status Among Women

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This study examined body shape preferences, body dissatisfaction, and self-focus between dieters and nondieters. Dieters were found to be more dissatisfied with their bodies than were nondieters. Although dieters did not have more stringent standards for body shape than nondieters, there was a larger discrepancy between ideal and current shape for dieters owing to their greater body weights. Dieters were also found to be highly and negatively self-focused on the Exner Sentence Completion Task (J. E. Exner, 1973). Moreover, dieting status was correlated with public rather than private self-consciousness, suggesting that dieters are concerned with their public image. Taken together, these data suggest that some women may be motivated to diet in part because of intense self-focus about their current self-perception of being overweight.

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