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Dysfunctional psychological investment in appearance: would be loving relationships protective factors?

Grant number: 13/04357-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2013
Effective date (End): October 15, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Sebastião de Sousa Almeida
Grantee:Maria Fernanda Laus
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):14/05710-9 - Dysfunctional psychological investment in appearance: are romantic relationships protective factors? - a cross-cultural study, BE.EP.PD


Body image plays an important role in daily life of the Brazilian population, however, research in the country are still scarce. Most studies conducted in Brazil use satisfaction/dissatisfaction as only measure of evaluation and other attitudinal components are often neglected although essential to understand the functioning of this construct. Several biological and environmental factors have been associated with body image, however, despite the importance of romantic relationships in the lives of adults, almost nothing is known about how the emotional situation of individuals relates to your image. One aspect of body image that acts largely on the perceptions and reactions of individuals facing interpersonal relationships is investment in appearance. This component is influenced by the behavior of others and the need for social approval, which may increase an individual's investment in a pattern of socially valued appearance. Although considered a personality trait, in specific situations or periods, dysfunctional investment in appearance may have amplified their importance as a state. Considering that man is a social being and cultural and biological factors drive to engage in romantic relationships, the hypothesis arose that the pressure experienced by single men and women to find a partner would increase the investment in appearance, while being in a stable relationship would protect individuals from experiencing such dysfunctionality. So, the aim of this study is to assess the psychological investment in certain beliefs and assumptions about the importance, meaning and influence of physical appearance on the lives of individuals involved or not in a stable romantic relationship. Initially, two internationally recognized instruments that access attitudinal components of body image will be adapted to Brazil and will have their psychometric properties evaluated in 600 subjects through a survey via internet. Subsequently, 400 participants from Brazil and 400 from United States will answer these and other instruments, also via internet, to meet the research objectives.