Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Medicine


Community Practice

Committee Chair

Irene Tessaro.


The purpose of this study was to demonstrate associations between perception of body image among women and their body image behaviors. A study was needed to determine the extent to which subjective norms, attitudes, beliefs, Body Mass Index, and self esteem were associated with body image behaviors. The target population in this study was female students at West Virginia University. Data collection was facilitated through an anonymous mailed questionnaire sent to 400 female students at West Virginia University. Components of Theory of Reasoned Action were used to develop a questionnaire. Questions assessed participants' attitudes and beliefs, subjective norms, and outcomes from contemplating their personal body image. Results of the survey indicated self esteem and the influence of magazine models were associated with individual body satisfaction. In addition, self esteem and social networks were associated with body image behaviors (which included purchasing cosmetics and fashions, and dieting). Having high self esteem was correlated with high body satisfaction. Also, women who placed greater importance on television celebrities and fashion models, reported less body satisfaction than women who reported less importance of celebrities and models in shaping their perceptions. Finally, women who agreed with the statement "people who are important to me think my appearance is just right," reported higher levels of body satisfaction. This study indicates there are significant associations between body image components and behaviors which result from the interaction among those components.