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“This body is me” Discovering the ways in which the body is salient in people's identities

Journal article
Authors Johanna Kling
Maria Wängqvist
Ann Frisén
Published in Body image
Volume 24
Pages 102-110
ISSN 1740-1445
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 102-110
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.12.00...
Keywords Body image; Identity; Embodiment; Qualitative; Young adult
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

Although previous research has revealed associations between negative body image and identity problems, there are sound theoretical reasons to assume much greater diversity in relations between body image and identity. The aim of the present qualitative study was to explore the ways people find the body salient to their identities. Young adults (N = 121; 51% women) were interviewed, and four main themes were found: identification with the body, body functionality in identity-relevant tasks, appearance and identity in social interactions, and identity-relevant bodily engagement. Both positive and negative ways in which the body is salient in identity were described and descriptions included functionality, embodied experiences, and social environments. Gender differences were not found with one exception: more women than men described experiences of identifying with their bodies. These novel results have implications for the understanding of the interconnection between body image and identity and may open avenues for continued research.

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