Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Barbara K. Sholley

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Allison

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Bagwell


Group polarization, social norms, and misperceptions of normative body weight were evaluated in sorority and non-sorority (comparison) undergraduate women at the University of Richmond. The participants completed the Eating Disorder Inventory-2, the Weight Locus of Control Scale, the Rosenburg Self-esteem Scale, the Multidimensional Body- Self Relations Questionnaire, and several self-report questions. Sorority and comparison participants significantly misperceived normative body weight. One sorority differed significantly from the other groups on misperception of normative body weight and the Eating Disorder Inventory-2. The comparison group had significantly lower scores than the three sororities on the Self-Esteem Scale. The four instruments did not significantly predict normative body weight misperception. Because the misperception of ideal body weight is so pervasive, a social norms campaign advertising normative body weight could be very successful.

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