Does body image play a role in risky sexual behavior and attitudes?

Meghan M. Gillen, Eva S. Lefkowitz, Cindy L. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Body image and sexuality, both physically-oriented domains of the self, are likely linked, but few studies have examined their associations. In the present investigation, we studied emerging adult undergraduates (ages 17-19), focusing specifically on risky sexual behaviors and attitudes. Participants (N=434) completed a survey on body image, lifetime sexual behavior, sexual double standard attitudes, and attitudes about condoms. Males who evaluated their appearance more positively and who were more oriented toward their appearance were more likely to report risky sexual behavior, yet females who evaluated their appearance more positively were less likely to report risky sexual behavior. For most sexual attitudes, patterns did not differ by gender. Individuals who were more oriented toward their appearance believed more in the sexual double standard, and those who had more positive evaluations of their appearance perceived fewer barriers to using condoms. Intervention implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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