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Keywords

Amish women; Body image; Life satisfaction

Abstract

Dissatisfaction with one’s appearance is commonplace among Western women. Body image dissatisfaction is believed to be a consequence of societal emphases on appearance reinforced through norms and media. However, some Amish cultural values and norms differ from prevailing Western influences, which may result in a rate of body image dissatisfaction at variance with Western women. The following pilot study explores how religious affiliation and religiosity may relate to body image factors (body dissatisfaction, appearance investment, and body coping strategies) and life satisfaction in Amish (N = 32), Catholic (N = 40), and non-religious (N = 40) women. Results suggest that the Amish have a more positive body image than Catholic women; results were inconclusive when comparing to non-religious women. As this pilot study’s sampling proceduce and size limit our ability to draw definitive conclusions, future research should work toward an expanded, systematic sample. If results from this study are confirmed, research is needed that examines the specific aspects of the Amish culture that may be associated with higher rates of body image satisfaction.

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