n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Gender differences in body image perceptions of South African university students s psychology

Volume 18 Number sup-1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Body image is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon which contributes to serious developmental concerns for young adults. University students are particularly vulnerable to social as well as peer pressure associated with their physical appearance. The purpose of the current study was to examine the multidimensional perceptions of body image among male and female university students. A non-probability convenience sampling procedure was utilized and data from three hundred and forty-four completed questionnaires were analysed. The Multidimensional Body Self-Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) was used to measure self-attitudinal aspects of the body-image construct. A descriptive analysis of the sample was undertaken and an independent t-test was used to examine if there were any statistically significant gender differences amongst the students. The findings indicated that female respondents focussed more on their appearance, and were more conscious of illness and weight. Male respondents, on the other hand, focussed more on their health evaluation and fitness. However, the respondents, irrespective of their gender, expressed similar views regarding their investment in activities related to a healthy lifestyle and were mostly satisfied with their physical characteristics. University students, irrespective of gender, have a positive perception of their body image, where the influence of the media regarding body image appears to have a limited influence, and therefore they can concentrate on their academic performance and their future career, regardless of their body shape and perspective of others.

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