Body image attitude among Chinese college students

Psych J. 2018 Mar;7(1):31-40. doi: 10.1002/pchj.200. Epub 2018 Jan 3.


The present study aimed to examine body image attitude in Chinese college students and related psychological consequences. A silhouette-matching test was administered to 425 college students in mainland China. Self-esteem, negative emotions, subjective well-being, and eating-disorder-related weight-controlling behaviors were also measured. Only 12.9% of the participants were satisfied with their figure and the extent of body image dissatisfaction was comparable for both sexes. The majority of the female participants indicated a preference to be more slender. Their ideal figure was underweight and was far smaller than the most attractive female figure chosen by male participants. For male participants, the proportion wanting a fuller figure was comparable to that wanting a slimmer figure. Among female participants, body image dissatisfaction negatively correlated with self-esteem and subjective well-being, and positively correlated with negative emotions. Drive for thinness correlated with eating-disorder-related weight-controlling behaviors not only for females, but also for males. Body image dissatisfaction, as a diagnostic feature for major subtypes of eating disorders, may signal serious concern among Chinese college students.

Keywords: body image; eating disorder; negative emotion; self-esteem; sex.

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • China
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult