Graduation Year

1357027200

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Joel K. Thompson

Abstract

The Physical Appearance Comparison Scale (PACS; Thompson, Heinberg, & Tantleff, 1991) is a widely used 5-item measure that assesses an overall tendency to compare one's own appearance to the appearance of others in social situations. Research using the PACS and other measures of appearance comparison has shown this construct to be related to higher levels of body dissatisfaction and eating pathology. However, the measure is limited in that it only assesses comparison tendencies within a narrow range of social contexts and body sites. In the current investigation, the PACS was revised to examine a broader range of social contexts (e.g., in public, at work or school, at the gym, etc.) and dimensions of appearance (e.g., body shape, weight, body fat, etc.). The PACS-R was administered to 1,176 college females, along with measures of body satisfaction, eating pathology, sociocultural influences on appearance, and self-esteem. In Study 1, exploratory factor analysis and parallel analysis using one half of the total sample was conducted. Results indicated that a single factor should be retained. Study 2 utilized the remaining half of the total sample to conduct confirmatory factor analysis, item analysis, and to examine the convergent validity and predictive validity of the PACS-R. Modification indices from the confirmatory factor anlaysis indicated several pairs of items with correlated errors, and were used to guide elimination of highly redundant items from the scale. These analyses resulted in an 11-item scale that demonstrated excellent internal consistency, as well as significant associations in the hypothesized direction with measures of body satisfaction, eating pathology, sociocultural influences on appearance, and self-esteem. Regression analyses demonstrated the utility of the PACS-R in predicting theorized outcomes (i.e., body satisfaction and eating pathology). Overall, results indicate that the PACS-R is a reliable and valid tool for assessing appearance comparison tendencies in women.

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