on Body Image
THOMAS F. CASH
Most contemporary research on body image derives directly or implicitly from cognitive and/or behavioral paradigms in psychology. An integrative cognitive-behavioral viewpoint reflects no single theory but rather draws upon an enduring tradition of ideas and empirical evidence that emphasizes social learning processes and cognitive mediation of behaviors and emotions. This chapter summarizes key concepts, principles, and processes inherent in cognitive and behavioral conceptions of body image.
To articulate basic elements of a cognitive-behavioral model, it is first necessary to distinguish historical from proximal or concurrent factors that shape body image development. Historical factors refer to past events, attributes, and experiences that predispose or influence how people come to think, feel, and act in relation to their body. Salient among these factors are cultural socialization, interpersonal experiences, physical characteristics, and personality attributes. Through various types of social learning, historical factors instill fundamental body image schemas and attitudes, including dispositional body image evaluations and degrees of body image investment. Body image evaluation refers to satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one's body, including evaluative beliefs about it. Body image investment refers to the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional importance of the body for selfevaluation. In this model, proximal body image factors pertain to current life events and consist of precipitating and maintaining influences on body image experiences, including internal dialogues, body image emotions, and self-regulatory actions.
Figure 5.1 illustrates this distinction and the concepts and processes discussed in this chapter. However, this figure must be viewed with three important caveats in mind. First, it is a heuristic conceptual model, offered to