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A comparison of the socio-cultural influences on body size perceptions and values among European Australian and Indigenous Fijian adolescent girls

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conference contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Lauren Williams, L Ricciardelli, M McCabe, Helen Mavoa, Boyd SwinburnBoyd Swinburn
Western women are experiencing increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity despite valuing slimness as ideal and equating thinness with attractiveness and beauty. Pacific populations are also experiencing high prevalence rates of overweight and obesity. A lage body size, however, has many positive connotations among pacific populations that stem from rich cultural practices such as feasts and deliberate fattening of women. There appears to be many sociocultural factors however, such as images of the slim ideal portrayed in Western media, influencing body image concerns that are shared between the two groups. A qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews was conducted to examine and compare the sociocultural influences on body size perceptionsand values. Participants include 16 European Australian and 16 Indigenous Fijian adolescent girls aged between 15 and 17 years. Inductive thematic analysis and analytical induction were qualitativemethods employed to facilitate interpretation of the findings. Preliminary findings suggest that Fijian adolescent girls experience greater conflict than European Australian girls about the desired body size endorsed in their community. Results also suggest that Indigenous Fijian girls place less importance than Australian girls on manipulating their body to achieve a specific ideal. Specific results of this study are reviewed and recommendations for future research are discussed.



Australian Psychological Society. Conference (40th : 2005 : Melbourne, Vic.)


Australian Psychological Society


Melbourne, Victoria

Place of publication

Μelbourne, Vic.

Start date


End date






Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.



Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2005, Australian Psychological Society


M Katsikitis

Title of proceedings

APS 2005 : Proceedings of the 40th APS Annual Conference 28 September - 2 October 2005, Melbourne Vic : past reflections, future directions

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