"Yes, I worry about my weight... but for the most part I'm content with my body": Older Women's Body Dissatisfaction Alongside Contentment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The majority of body image research has studied younger women and girls, ignoring older age groups. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore body image among retirement-age women. The sample included 13 women aged 60 to 69. Data collection occurred in two phases. Participants completed individual in-depth interviews and attended follow-up focus groups. Transcripts from both phases of data collection were analyzed thematically using the constant comparison method. Themes emerged regarding the participants' definitions of body image, their attitudes about appearance, and their current perceptions of their bodies. Findings highlighted the complexity of older women's body image as characterized by the dual existence of contentment and desire for physical change. Participants offered explanations for this seeming contradiction, including consideration of age, prioritization of preferred aspects of the body or the self, and focus on aspects of appearance that are perceived to be within the individual's control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-88
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aging
  • body image
  • older women
  • qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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