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The Effects of Societal Standards of Physical Attractiveness on Body Esteem in the Elderly
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by Nicole H. Wolensky - Marquette University
The current societal standard of attractiveness is one that emphasizes youthfulness. The study sought to observe the impact these standards have on the elderly. Participants consisted of 14 women and 6 men aged 62 through 90 (M = 77.35, SD = 7.82). The control group viewed a photograph of an elderly couple, whereas the youthful standard of attractiveness was made salient to the remaining participants through a photograph of a young couple. The researcher administered the Body Esteem Scale (Franzoi & Shields, 1984), producing scores on the body-as-object subscale and the body-as-process subscale. Scores were compared on the basis of sex, condition, and exercise/nonexercise. No significant difference was found between conditions or sexes. Exercisers scored significantly higher than nonexercisers on the body-as-process subscale, t(17) = - 3.32, p = .008.