Relationships between men's and women's body image and their psychological, social, and sexual functioning

Tanya E. Davison, Marita P. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to examine the relationships between different aspects of body image and psychological, social, and sexual functioning throughout adulthood. The respondents were 211 men and 226 women (age range 18-86 years; mean = 42.26). Respondents completed measures of self-rated attractiveness, body satisfaction, body image importance, body image behaviors, appearance comparison, social physique anxiety, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social and sexual functioning. Body image was associated with self-esteem for all groups, but was unrelated to other aspects of psychological, social, and sexual functioning. There were some exceptions; a disturbance in body image was related to problematic social and sexual functioning among middle-aged men and to depression and anxiety symptoms in late adulthood among men and women. Middle-aged men who presented with the type of body image disturbance typical of women were more likely to have impaired interpersonal functioning. These results demonstrate that social aspects of body image appear to be important in understanding psychological functioning in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-475
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Body image
  • Developmental differences
  • Gender differences
  • Psychological functioning
  • Sexual functioning
  • Social functioning

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