Body image, a multidimensional construct encompassing the perception and evaluation of appearance, was examined in connection with religious faith and modesty of dress in a sample of 291 Jordanian and 189 American women university students. Participants completed the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire-Appearance Scales, the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire, and a modesty scale. As hypothesized, Jordanians reported more favorable body image evaluations, greater religious faith, and greater modesty than Americans. Also, religious faith was positively correlated with better body image for both groups. Although religious faith and modesty were weak predictors of better body image, culture was found to be the overwhelming predictor. Results suggest that Jordanian culture, and to a lesser degree religious faith (particularly Islam), are potentially protective against negative body image.
Heidi Woofenden recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This article is an abridged version of her honors thesis, completed under the mentorship of Dr. Teresa King.
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