Factor Structure and Validity of the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale: Results from the 1972 Psychology Today Survey


  • David Frederick Chapman University
  • George W Bohrnstedt American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC, USA
  • Elaine Hatfield Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, USA
  • Ellen Berscheid Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA


Psychology Today, body image, body parts satisfaction scale, validity, prevalence of body dissatisfaction


In 1972, the first major national study on body image was conducted under the auspices of Psychology Today. Body image was assessed with the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale, which examined the dissatisfaction people experienced with 24 aspects of their bodies. Despite the continued reliance on this scale and reference to the study, data on the factor structure of this measure in a sample of adults have never been published, and citations of the original scale have relied on an unpublished manuscript (Bohrnstedt, 1977). An exploratory factor analysis conducted on 2,013 adults revealed factors for men (Face, Sex Organ, Height, Lower Body, Mid Torso, Upper Torso, Height) and women (Face, Sex Organ, Height, Lower Torso, Mid Torso, Extremities, Breast). The factors were weakly to moderately intercorrelated, suggesting the scale can be analyzed by items, by subscales, or by total score. People who reported more dissatisfaction with their body also tended to report lower self-esteem and less comfort interacting with members of the other sex. The analyses provide a useful comparison point for researchers looking to examine gender differences in dissatisfaction with specific aspects of the body, as well as the factor structures linking these items.

Author Biography

David Frederick, Chapman University

Assistant Professor in Health PsychologyCrean School of Health and Life Sciences