Biracial and biethnic women’s perceptions of parental attitudes regarding their bodies: a qualitative investigation into body image

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Educational Psychology
Author Boveda, Ingrid
Title Biracial and biethnic women’s perceptions of parental attitudes regarding their bodies: a qualitative investigation into body image
Date 2017
Description Statistics on body image suggest that most women struggle with negative feelings about their appearance. However, there is disagreement as to what aspects of body image are most salient to women of different racial/ethnic groups. Moreover, body image research has traditionally examined the influence of peers, the media, and family on White and monoracial Women of Color. The experiences of body image development with biracial women, as well as how racial identity influences body image, has largely been ignored. The current study utilized a grounded theory qualitative design to explore the impact of parental messages on biracial women’s body image, and to examine how racial identity and biracial women’s body image are related. Thirteen biracial women between the ages of 18 and 40 were interviewed and asked about the parental messages they received, as well as their impact, in addition to being asked about racial identity development and how they felt their racial identity influenced their body image. Participants also identified women in the media that they felt espoused their body image ideal. Results indicate that biracial women received messages from their parents in both direct and indirect ways. Mothers’ messages tended to be more negative and less balanced than fathers’ messages, though fathers had also communicated some damaging appearance-related messages. Participants reported internalizing these messages and developing their own critical voice with regards to their appearance. Further participants described how their racial identity helped them to accept features that were not considered “beautiful” by Eurocentric beauty standards. This, in turn, contributed to greater body acceptance. In sum, it appears that both direct (e.g., verbal) and indirect (e.g., behaviors) parental messages influence biracial women’s body image and racial identity. Further, espousing a biracial identity can help foster more positive views on appearance in biracial women. Implications for interventions with parents of biracial children, as well as suggestions for counselors working with biracial women, are discussed.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Biethnic; Biracial; Body Image; Parental Attitudes; Women
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management ©Ingrid Boveda
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6hq846s
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2018-07-02
Date Modified 2018-07-02
ID 1345356
Reference URL
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