Body image evaluations in women smokers

Addict Behav. Jul-Aug 2000;25(4):613-8. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(99)00039-8.


While body image has been found to be an important predictor for several health behaviors (abnormal dieting. weight regain, exercise), only one study to date has examined body image attitudes in women smokers (Australian sample) with results suggesting that women smokers feel less attractive than nonsmokers. The purpose of the present study was to compare body image in women smokers to normative samples of women. Subjects were 136 women (89.0% White, M age = 39.85, 74% employed. 52% married, body mass index [BMI] = 25.54) entering a randomized clinical smoking cessation trial. Subjects completed the Appearance Evaluation and Fitness Orientation subscales of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire and the Silhouette Choosing Task. Pooled t-tests showed that subjects scored significantly lower on Appearance Evaluation (t = -6.58, p < .01) and Fitness Orientation (t = -5.55, p < .01) than the normative sample. For the silhouette choosing task, the present sample reported a significantly higher current silhouette (t = 2.29, p < .05) and dissatisfaction score (t = 4.04, p < .01) than the comparative sample. There were no significant differences on the ideal or attraction scores. Results suggest that women smokers may be more dissatisfied with their bodies than women in general. Possible implications include that smoking may adversely affect body image and/or body image concerns may negatively impact cessation attempts.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation