International Study Finds Large Scale Dissatisfaction in Body-Image Among Women

A new study led by scholars at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, surveyed more than 18,000 women in 40 nations around the world on whether they were satisfied with the size of their breasts. The average age of women in the study was 34 years old.

More than 47 percent of the respondents stated that they wanted larger breasts. Slightly more than 23 percent wanted smaller breasts. And only 29.3 percent were satisfied with their current breast size. Thus, slightly more than 7 of 10 women worldwide were dissatisfied with their breast size, according to the survey.

In the United States, the dissatisfaction with breast size was slightly higher. In the U.S. 32 percent of all respondents stated that they wanted smaller breasts. This is a far larger percentage than the worldwide average of 23 percent.

The authors note that “greater breast size dissatisfaction was associated with poorer breast awareness, as indexed through lower breast self-examination frequency and lower confidence in detecting breast change. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in women worldwide and poor survival rates are reliably associated with poorer breast awareness.”

The authors conclude that “breast size dissatisfaction appears to be common across all the nations that were surveyed and breast size dissatisfaction is associated with detrimental outcomes for women across nations, particularly in terms of psychological well-being. Interventions and therapeutic practices that reduce breast size dissatisfaction are now urgently required, particularly if they can be demonstrated to be effective across national, cultural, and social identity groups. However, such interventions are likely to only be stopgaps in the absence of broader social and political initiatives that challenge patriarchal structures that tie women’s worth to their physical appearance.”

The study, “The Breast Size Satisfaction Survey (BSSS): Breast Size Dissatisfaction and its Antecedents and Outcomes in Women From 40 Nations,” was published in the March 2020 issue of the journal Body Image. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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