Social Factors Influencing Women’s Body Image (Case Study: Isfahan City)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Islamic Azad University- Dehaghan Branch

2 Isfahan University of Medical Sciences


In the modern world, there is more short relationship among people. Therefore know themselves more with physical and visible characteristics rather than different or similarities in ascribed and achieved characteristics. The appearance of an individual is considered a sign identity. By the other words, what we can see in appearance account as main source of communication, interpretation. Among all of these characteristics, body constitutes the most direct and accessible base that can carry and play different forms of lifestyle and identity, so it is essential. It is perceived that body is a social and cultural reality. Therefore it is conceptualized by sociological theories such as social regulation, social symbols. This research applied the sociological theory of symbolic interaction and social structure of body in order to explain socialization of body and main concepts of the body.  These theories portray that family, media, school and peers could influence on socialization. Body image is constituted in the life careers women. They learn how look at their body, how managed their body and how change their bodies. This process passed from family especially in childhood career, school and peers especially in adolescent career and finally media throughout of their life. The overall aim of this study is to explore of social factors influence on women to perception of body image. Alongside with the main aim, this research also seeks to test some hypothesis. The main hypothesis included: 1- there is relationship between spouse attitude and body image in women, 2- there is relationship between women body image and their socialization such as family, school, friends and media, and 3- there is relationship between women body image and age, educational level and marital status.     

Materials and Methods
This is a survey research that adopts a descriptive and analytic method. Statistic society is women of 18 to 40 year-old the city of Isfahan with a population of 106,573. The sample size was calculated according to Cochran formula, 384 cases, and method of sampling was a multistage sampling.  In first stage three regions have been chosen according to the Isfahan council information. Then each region divided to the blocks and one of them chooses as statistical unit, finally, the cases have been chosen randomly. The element was questionnaire consisted by research team according to the research theoretical framework. It included two separate parts questions which evaluated both socialization of cases and women body images. The questionnaire validity was provided by scholars and its reliability was calculated according to coefficients Cronbach's alpha (r = 0.70). The data was analyzed by SPSS software. In this line, table distribution frequency has been employed to show descriptive data and tests of Pierson, F and T has been used to analyze the relationship between variables.
Discussion of Results & Conclusions
Findings showed that mothers, sisters, friends and peers had the most effect on people’s appearance and dress. It is showed that there is relationship between attitudes of family, school around perspective, the use of media and influence of media and age with body image. But there was no significant relationship between management and body view with formation of body image. Also with t-test, relationship between marital status, education and occupation was assessed. The data show that there is a negative relationship between age and women body image. It means increasing age among women could decline their body image and their satisfaction around their bodies. The data also show that single girls had better body image in compare with married women. It is also suggested that increasing educational levels among women could raise women consent related to their body image. 
 The main aim of this study was to study social factors influence on women to perception of body image. The results showed that variables of family, school, peers and media significantly had correlation with body image.  The results showed that the major variable in constitution of body image is media. The results also showed that women relatives, school and family also impact on women body image but their influences are not much as media. The results of this research are corresponded with the results in other countries in the matter of media. They show that increasing using media could decline the women consents body images. Family also had a significant impact on women body image has been reported by many research worldwide. The findings of current research confirm their findings. The results of this research showed that relatives and friends had empowered influence on the women body image, so that women body image impactions of significant others had more negative body image among cases. However, it seems socialization can be effective in information of body image during individual’s lifetime.  Because according to the results, women high level educated had more attention on their body images in compare with women low level educated. The results of this research also are alongside with other research in Iran and out of Iran. According to the findings it is suggested the researchers consider on perception the processes which each variables such as family, friends, peers, school and media could changes the women body image during a long time period. It seems understanding these processes could be resulted through a qualitative method research.    


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