Thesis

Childhood sexual abuse and adult perceptions of body image

This thesis examines the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) history and adult perceptions of body image. The moderating effect of one’s biological sex on this relationship is analyzed as well. In addition, whether or not event centrality affects adult perceptions of body image in those individuals with a history of CSA is examined. Two hundred and seventeen college students at California State University, Stanislaus were administered a demographics questionnaire, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA; Mendelson, Mendelson, & White, 2001), and the Childhood Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (CSAQ) on Qualtrics. Those participants who indicated that they had experienced CSA were administered the Centrality of Events Scale (CES; Berntsen & Rubin, 2006) as well. No significant relationship between CSA and adult perceptions of body image was found. A marginally significant difference between men and women’s adult perceptions of body image was found, but biological sex did not have a significant moderating effect on the relationship between CSA and adult perceptions of body image. A modest but significant negative correlation was identified between event centrality and adult perceptions of body image, and a modest but significant positive correlation was discovered between CSA and BMI ratings.

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