Limited research has assessed the possibility for drive for thinness, leanness, and muscularity to occur concurrently. The current study explored this possibility among women aged between 17-65 years. Body drive groups were determined through hierarchical cluster analysis on the three drive measures and further assessed differences on: age, body mass index, exercising behaviours and reported body change strategies for external validity. Three hundred and thirty five females participated in the study and were recruited from local leisure centres, sporting facilities, the general community, and the University of the Sunshine Coast. The cluster analysis produced three body drive groups: Low group (n = 103), Normative group (n = 174), and Pathological group (n = 58). Comparisons between the three groups demonstrated that the Pathological group was significantly younger and engaged in more exercising behaviours than the Low and Normative groups. However, there was no significant difference between groups in low impact exercising behaviours. Additionally, the Low group was the oldest with the highest BMI. Common thinness pursuit strategies across groups were adhering to a healthy eating plan, where leanness and muscularity strategies across groups were exercise. Key findings suggested the drive measures could occur simultaneously amongst women and younger women were more Pathological in their dissatisfactions. These findings were explained in relation to Cash’s cognitive behavioural model of body image, specifically how age as a historical influence impacts on body image investments and outcomes.
Submitted in the partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) (Honours), University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014.