Sociocultural Stereotypes as a Factor of Body Image Formation among Preschool Girls



Objective. We hypothesized that even short-term interaction with images that broadcast stereotypes of an unrealistically thin body may shift girls’ self-reference of body image to a thinner one. Background. Modern standards of body image, broadcast through the media, toys and other products for children, are unattainable for most people. Among such standards is the stereotype of an unrealistically thin body. Its presence makes girls perceive their bodies in a distorted manner and contributes to the formation of an extremely rigid self-ideal. Study design. The work experimentally assumes the influence of sociocultural stereotypes on the body image of preschool girls. The idea of H. Dittmar, E. Halliwell and S. Ive was used for the experiment. At the first stage, all children were examined using the "Silhouettes" technique. After 2 weeks, the girls of the experimental group were given coloring books with the image of Barbie. Girls in the control group were given neutral coloring pages with animals. After the children were coloring for 30 minutes, their body image was re-examined using the "Silhouettes" technique. Participants. Russian sample: 100 girls aged 5—6 years. All the children have a normal for their age body mass index. Measurements. Psychodiagnostic technique "Silhouettes". To compare distributions in independent samples, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used, in dependent samples, the Kolmogorov test of agreement was used. Results. The results showed that a sample of Russian-speaking preschoolers, as well as their peers around the world, internalize unrealistic stereotypes of physicality by the age of 5—6. Conclusions. Interactions with images of an unrealistically thin body shift the distribution of choices for the "my body" and "ideal body" categories toward thinner images.

General Information

Keywords: body image, preschool age, sociocultural factors, preschool girls, thin ideal, the "Silhou¬ettes" technique, internalization, female.

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 20-013-00110.

Received: 26.08.2020


For citation: Belogai K.N., Borisenko Y.V., Bugrova N.A. Sociocultural Stereotypes as a Factor of Body Image Formation among Preschool Girls. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2022. Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 194–208. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2022130213. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Ksenia N. Belogai, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Department of Acmeology and Developmental Psychology, Kemerovo State University, Kemerovo, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Yuliya V. Borisenko, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Department of Acmeology and Developmental Psychology, Institute of Education, Kemerovo State University, Kemerovo, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Natalya A. Bugrova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor of the Department of Acmeology and Psychology of Development, Institute of Education, Kemerovo State University, Kemerovo, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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