Breast Size Perception and Satisfaction, Body Image, and Psychological Functioning in Caucasian and Asian American College Women1

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Abstract

Perceived breast size, breast size satisfaction, body image (body satisfaction and generalized appearance satisfaction) and psychological functioning (self-esteem, self-consciousness, and generalized appearance preoccupation), as well as stereotyping of breast size, were examined in 166 Caucasian and Asian American college women. Caucasian women reported slightly larger perceived and ideal breast sizes, but no significant group differences for any of the other variables were found; groups were combined for subsequent analyses. Both large and small breastedness were associated with lower breast size satisfaction. Hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for body size (assessed indirectly by a weight preoccupation measure) and including the interaction of perceived breast size and breast size satisfaction, yielded main effects for weight preoccupation, perceived breast size, and satisfaction with breast size, but no interactions. Over and above the effect of weight preoccupation, smaller perceived breast size was associated with lower breast size satisfaction and with more positive body image, while larger size was associated with higher breast size satisfaction and with less positive body image. Lower self-esteem was associated with lower breast size satisfaction but not with perceived breast size, while higher public self-consciousness, social anxiety, and appearance preoccupation were associated with a mismatch between ideal and perceived size, regardless of whether ideal size was smaller or larger than perceived size. Implications of these findings are discussed within the broader cultural context.

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