Effects of Eating Abnormalities and Gender on Perceptions of Desirable Body Shape

Debra Zellner, Debra E. Harner, Robbie L. Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Men and women differ when choosing the figure drawings that most resemble (a) their own current figures (CURRENT), (b) their ideal figures (IDEAL), and (c) the figure thought most attractive to the opposite sex (OPPOSITE) (Fallon & Rozin, 1985). In the present experiment, women with high Eating Attitude Test (EAT) scores, indicating abnormal eating patterns, choose differently from those with low scores. All women's IDEAL and OPPOSITE figures are thinner than their CURRENT figures, whereas men rate all three nearly identically. Only the high-scoring women choose an IDEAL figure thinner than their OPPOSITE. This suggests that whereas men are satisfied with their figures, women desire to be thinner than they think they are, and women with abnormal eating behaviors desire to be even thinner than what they think men find attractive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-96
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1989


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