This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Body Image Perceptions and Clothing Behavior Issues for Adolescent Daughters and Their Mothers




Lee, Seung

Type of Degree



Consumer Affairs


The purpose of this study was to explore tween girls (ages 9-14) and their mothers in relation to clothing behavior issues, body image, and body satisfaction. The purposive sample consisted of 41 mother-daughter pairs recruited by an independent contractor, ([TC]² (Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation), in Raleigh, NC, where four research sessions were held. Subjects were divided into younger (9-11) and older (12-14) normal- and plus-size groups based on BMI percentiles for girls published by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Girls with BMI scores below the 85th percentile were classified normal-size; scores at and above that were considered plus-size. Mean BMIs were: 17.68 for normal-size younger, 19.09 for normal-size older, 27.40 for plus-size younger, and 29.44 for plus-size older. In each research session, mothers and daughters separately completed related questionnaires. Research questions inquired into differences between mothers’ and daughters’ body image perceptions of themselves and each other, their ideal body images, and their dissatisfaction with their bodies. A set of nine female drawings (thin to large) was the stimulus (Stunkard, Sorenson, & Schulsinger, 1983). Several significant differences emerged. Plus-size girls saw themselves as smaller than their mothers saw them. Normal-size girls saw their mothers as larger than their mothers saw themselves. Girls’ ideal size for adult women was smaller than their mothers’ ideal. Mothers were more dissatisfied with their bodies than the girls were with theirs. Mothers and daughters had similar ideals for girls’ body size. Mothers accurately perceived their daughters’ wanting to be thinner. Questions also probed decision-making on what to buy and wear. Compared to fathers, sisters, friends, or deciding on their own, mothers had the most influence on what to buy. Decisions on what to wear were made more on their own; mothers were influential but less so than in deciding what to buy; friends were less important than mothers. There were significant differences between mothers and daughters in rating the importance of seven decision factors concerning what to wear. Girls reported that clothes that fit well and clothes that were comfortable were significantly more important than their mothers rated them. Mothers rated clothes that are the newest fashion and that friends would be wearing as being significantly more important than their daughters reported. There was a significant negative correlation between girls’ body dissatisfaction and their interest in clothes that were comfortable. The significant body dissatisfaction of plus-size girls was related to the greatest level of clothing deprivation (compared to normal-size girls) within all three categories examined: clothes for school, dress-up clothes, and clothes to wear when doing things with friends.