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Title: An assessment of body weight perceptions, ‘Fluffy’ and the impact on psychological wellbeing and physical activity in Jamaica
Authors: Pearce, Venecia Ordell
Advisors: Gaines, SO
Dibb, B
Keywords: Obesity;Fluffy;Jamaica;Physical activity;Body image
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Body weight perceptions remain an important area of study. Beauty ideals have changed significantly with more emphasis on thinness. According to sociocultural perspectives, the pressure to be thin results in negative psychological consequences in most Western societies. Evidence, however, suggests that certain cultural and ethnic groups retain a traditional preference for plumpness. This thesis aimed to understand cultural perceptions of body weight and its influence on body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, body appreciation and physical activity in Jamaica. The research employed a mixed methodology approach. Qualitative inquiry using thematic analysis unearthed various beliefs about body weight and its health consequences. Specifically, it identified varying body ideals for women in Jamaica. These are the ‘fluffy’ body ideal and the slim ideal. The term ‘fluffy’ referred to women with larger bodies who were perceived to be confident and attractive. The novel Fluffy Rating Questionnaire (FRQ) was developed and was subjected to both exploratory factor analysis (parallel analysis) in study 2 and later confirmatory factor analysis in study 3. It was determined that the FRQ was best suited to examine impressions of fluffy women's personality which was a significant contribution to knowledge on fluffiness in Jamaica. Data were analyzed using Pearson's correlation, regression analysis, and analysis of variance. There were no relationships between impressions of fluffy women's personality, self-esteem, body appreciation or body dissatisfaction. However, the results support existing knowledge on the relationship between body mass index and body dissatisfaction, self-esteem and body appreciation. Impressions of fluffy were simulated and results suggest impressions of fluffy were related to lower recall of physical activity compared to impressions of obesity and the control. Overall, the findings indicate that there are influences of Western body ideals in Jamaica; however, there is still a traditional preference for plumpness which is conveyed through local expressions such as ‘Fluffy.'
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Theses

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