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Lillian Audette

Religious Profile and Body Satisfaction: A Correlational Study

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A number of factors have been linked to body satisfaction, including religion and spirituality. For example, women’s body satisfaction is positively correlated with personal religiosity (Mahoney et al., 2005; Varady, 2002) and the importance of religion in their lives (Joughin et al., 1992). Women’s body satisfaction is also positively related to increased intrinsic religious orientation, which is defined as incorporating religious values into personal identity in an attempt to authentically live what one believes (Burney, 2014; Homan & Boyatzis, 2009). Women’s body satisfaction is negatively related to the two other types of religious orientation: extrinsic orientation, which is incorporating religion into one’s life for external purposes or as subservient to other, more important, values, and quest orientation, which reflects an openness to changing one’s beliefs and accepting doubt as integral to faith (Boyatzis & McConnell, 2006; Burney, 2014; Forthun, Pidcock, & Fischer, 2003). The relation between body satisfaction and religion for men is less clear, with a few studies reporting contradictory findings. The current study looks at an undergraduate sample of men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 were recruited from 30 undergraduate education sites (large and small state universities, large and small private universities).  Participants completed a measure of body satisfaction which used the Contour Drawing Rating Scale (Thompson & Gray, 1995) and the Brief Inventory of Body Image (Agocha et al, 2007). Participants also completed a measure of spiritual awareness of god, made up of nine items from the Awareness of God subscale of the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (Hall & Edwards, 2002), a measure of religious involvement using four questions common to measures of religious involvement and chosen specifically for this data collection (Jakowski et al., 2015), and a measure of intrinsic orientation created from five items from the Religious Commitment Inventory. The five religious measures were examined by Jankowski et al. (2015) using mixed modeling procedures, and a three-class solution was chosen. Extrinsic Religiousness, or low religiousness class, had the highest levels of extrinsic religious motivation and lowest levels of spirituality, religious involvement, quest, and intrinsic orientations. Quest-Intrinsic Religiousness, or highly religious class, had the lowest levels of extrinsic religious motivation and highest levels of spirituality, religious involvement, quest, and intrinsic orientations. Moderate Religiousness, the third class, was so labeled because of moderate scores on all five indicators. The present study will examine 5,988 participants who completed the body satisfaction measure and were not agnostic or atheist, so the religious classes could be analyzed. We will analyze the difference between groups for class profile and body satisfaction scores for men and women. We predict a difference between quest-intrinsic and extrinsic religious class on body satisfaction for women. For men, there will be no differences between religious class’ body satisfaction.


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