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Desirable and undesirable masculine and feminine traits in relation to students' dieting tendencies and body image dissatisfaction


Previous research showing greater femininity among overweight persons used measures of masculinity and femininity which have been criticized for conceptual and psychometric reasons. The present study used the Spence-Helmreich measures to examine the interrelationships among socially desirable and socially undesirable instrumental (“masculine”) and expressive (“feminine”) traits, body weight, and other attributes of cognitive concern about dieting and weight-related appearance. While body weight was unrelated to these measures of psychological masculinity and femininity, sex differences were found in the relationship of masculinity and femininity to dieting tendencies. dissatisfaction with physical appearance, and achievement motivation in these samples of college undergraduates.

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Correspondence to Raymond C. Hawkins II.

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Hawkins, R.C., Turell, S. & Jackson, L.J. Desirable and undesirable masculine and feminine traits in relation to students' dieting tendencies and body image dissatisfaction. Sex Roles 9, 705–718 (1983).

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  • Body Weight
  • Social Psychology
  • Body Image
  • Physical Appearance
  • Achievement Motivation