Baby Boomers' Perceptions of Body Image and Feelings of Self-Worth

Update item information
Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Educational Psychology
Author Shreve, Melissa M.
Title Baby Boomers' Perceptions of Body Image and Feelings of Self-Worth
Date 2018
Description There is limited literature regarding body image among aging adults. Although strides have been made in the last 2 decades to better understand aging women's body image, there continues to be only a small portion of literature looking at solely men or at both men and women. Furthermore, body image and self-worth have been empirically linked, while their relationship amongst older adults has not been fully explored. The current study utilized a grounded theory qualitative design to explore baby boomers' perceptions of body image and feelings of self-worth. Ten women and 10 men were interviewed about their perceptions of body image and feelings of self-worth across the lifespan and asked to reflect on what influences these perceptions over time. Results found that participants' body image across the lifespan included two major themes: (1) Appearance of one's body and (2) Performance of one's body. Performance became more of a priority for both men and women as they aged. This shift occurred as aging impacted participants' body performance and increased their awareness of how their bodies were changing in regard to function. Across their lifespan, participants had societal influences impact their feelings towards their bodies. These messages often came from Westernized standards of beauty, the media, and direct and indirect messages from others, especially in regards to weight. Individuals felt aging has increased their self-worth through gaining experience, having time to focus on themselves, and reprioritizing what they believe is important, which often times included letting go of the importance placed on what others think of their bodies. When it came to aging's impacts on their body image, most participants discussed not liking the aspects of aging that brought them farther from societal beauty standards and their body's performance it once had. Most participants spoke of forms of radical acceptance, voicing that they have to accept the things they cannot change. Many of the participants identified independence as an element of their self-worth and feared further aging could threaten it. Directions for future research, as well as implications and suggestions for healthcare providers working with aging individuals, are discussed.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Aging; Psychology
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Melissa M. Shreve
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s67x1mtk
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2020-04-07
Date Modified 2020-04-14
ID 1539042
Reference URL