Body Image and Wellbeing in Religious Male and Female Youth in Israel: An Educational Challenge

Body Image and Wellbeing in Religious Male and Female Youth in Israel: An Educational Challenge

Shraga Fisherman (Shaanan College, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch078
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In the current study described in this chapter, we examined the relationship between body image and well-being among religiously observant male and female youth from four age groups: 16, 17, 19, and 22. MANOVA analysis of age x gender produced a significant interaction regarding body image. Various trends were found among the two genders according to age group. Among the girls, there is a moderate rise in body image (BI) with age, whereas among the boys there is an obvious decline between 17 and 19, followed by an increase. The boys' BI scores were significantly higher than those of the girls aged 16, 17, and 19, but not for age 22. There were significant and positive correlations between BI and well-being for all age groups and both genders. There were high correlations among the girls relative to those among the boys.
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Body image is primarily dependent on age, culture (Safir, Flaisher-Kellner, & Rosenmann, 2005), ethnicity, and gender (Gillen & Lefkowitz, 2006). Gillen and Lefkowitz (2006) claimed that “few studies, however, have tested sex and ethnic differences in body image together.” Few studies have been carried out on body image among Israeli men (Safir et al., 2005). Despite the cultural context of body image, the author has not found even one comparative study on religious Israeli men and women. The connection between body image and emotional wellbeing has been proven in the past (Myers & Sweeney, 2005), but there is a lack of comparative research examining this connection among both genders, in the religious population, and in three age groups. The current study seeks to compare religious adolescents of both genders and in three age groups (16, 17, and 19) regarding their body image, emotional wellbeing, and the connection between them.

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