Original Articles

A Cross-Cultural Exploration: Body Image in Older Black and White Women in the Workplace

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 19, issue 3, 2009 , pages: 315–319
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2009.10820297
Author(s): Helena HewatUniversity of Johannesburg, South Africa, Marlene ArndtUniversity of Johannesburg, South Africa


This study investigated body image attitudes in a non-clinical sample of black and white older professional women in the workplace in South Africa. Participants were 125 professional women (white woman n=76 and black women n = 49). They completed the shortened version of the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ) (Cooper, Taylor, Cooper & Fairburn, 1987). The BSQ is a self-report instrument that measures weight and shape concerns. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t-tests for independent samples were used to determine the univariate relationships between variables. Following this, a two-way analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to explore the interaction between ethnicity and BMI. The results indicate that Body Mass Index (BMI) and ethnicity are significantly and independently related to the body shape image. Women with higher BMI scores tended to have more concern about their bodies. Black women with higher BMI scores had more concerns than their white colleagues.

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