Relationship between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Fear of Fatness to Severity of Smoking Behavior in a Non-Clinical Adolescent Population
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP
Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP, Chairperson
Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP
David Castro-Blanco Ph.D., ABPP
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the U.S., yet it continues to kill more people than AIDS, automobile crashes, alcohol and drug abuse, murders, suicides, and fires---combined! In addition to a higher risk of dying prematurely, those who smoke are much more likely to experience numerous health problems. Other associated problems include dependency and tolerance to nicotine. Frequently, those who smoke are also more likely to use other substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroine, and especially alcohol. These findings are frightening considering that it is estimated that 4.5 million are adolescents. The reasons why adolescents smoke range from the influence of peers and family members who smoke to the minimization that smoking is not that bad. Another possible reason to smoke is as a weight control strategy. This has been studied more in adult smokers than adolescents. As a result, the present study is an attempt to add to the literature on the relationship between fear of fatness and body image dissatisfaction and smoking. The present study tested the following two hypotheses: 1.) Those who have a greater fear of fatness will be heavier smokers, and 2.) Those who have greater body image dissatisfaction will be heavier smokers. A non-clinical sample of high school students from three different schools and two states (PA and New Jersey) was obtained. Self-report questionnaires and assessment inventories were administered. Results indicated that the majority of students have at least one parent (81%) and at least one friend (89%) who smokes. Most have tried to quit once. Twenty seven percent acknowledged that they have smoked to control their eating. This response item was significantly correlated with the total MAC score, the MAC Rigid Weight Subscale score, the Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale and the Body Image Assessment score. Sixteen percent also indicated that they have smoked to control their weight. This response item was correlated with the total MAC score, all three subscales of the MAC, the Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale, and the Body Image Assessment discrepancy score. The Rigid Weight Subscale score of the MAC predicted number of cigarettes smoked per day. The Approval and Weight Subscale score of the MAC predicted the Fagerstrom score.
Bevilacqua, Jr., Louis J., "Relationship between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Fear of Fatness to Severity of Smoking Behavior in a Non-Clinical Adolescent Population" (2000). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 10.