Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Maureen C. McHugh, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beverly J. Goodwin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David J. LaPorte, Ph.D.


The present study investigates the role of the racial identity of the female figures in a figure rating scale in African American and Caucasian men’s preferences for female thinness. It also examines what role, if any, acculturation plays in men’s selection of attractive female body sizes and whether the men’s BMIs, their mothers’ body sizes, and their household income are significant factors in their preferences for thinness. Participants were administered African American and Caucasian versions of Klawitter’s Figure Rating Scale and asked to select the figure they found most attractive in the opposite sex, the range of body sizes that they have dated, and the figure that represents their mother’s body size. They also completed a short demographics questionnaire and selected subscales of the African American Acculturation Scale—Revised. The results indicated a trend towards African American men selecting larger female figures than Caucasian men, although this trend disappeared when acculturation was considered as a covariate. African American men also have dated a larger range of women’s body sizes than Caucasian men. It first appeared that the men chose similar black and white female figures as being attractive, but when the men’s BMIs were introduced as a covariate, the race of the female figures became significant. Men with higher BMIs selected significantly larger black female figures than white female figures. Furthermore, African American men’s own BMIs were predictive of their choice of attractive black females, whereas acculturation was the sole predictor of white female attractiveness ratings made by Caucasian men. This study was the first to investigate the role of the race of the female figures in assessing black and white men’s preferences for female thinness. It found that the race of the female figures does make a difference in the men’s ratings, which suggests that the perceived race of the female figures in prior studies could be a confounding variable. Furthermore, this study suggests that men’s BMIs and acculturation of Caucasian men, both of which have been overlooked in prior research, are important factors in determining men’s preference for female thinness.