The body as an object of stigmatization in cultures of guilt and shame: a Polish-Vietnamese comparison

Małgorzata Lipowska , Truong Thi Khanh Ha , Mariusz Lipowski , Joanna Różycka-Tran , Mariola Bidzan , Ha Thu Tran


The aim of this paper is to examine cross-cultural differences in body stigmatization between the individualistic Christian culture of guilt (Poland) and the collectivistic Buddhist/Confucian culture of honor and shame (Vietnam). The study included 1290 university students from Poland (n = 586) and Vietnam (n = 704). Subjects filled in the body esteem scale and the perceived stigmatization questionnaire, and body measurements were collected to calculate anthropometric indices. Participants from Vietnam were less satisfied with their appearance than their Polish peers. Men in both countries assessed themselves more favorably. No anthropometric index predicted body esteem in Vietnamese women, while only indices related to fat levels were predictors in Polish women. Men with a V-shaped body assessed themselves as stronger and as having a better physical condition. A possible explanation of the observed cross-cultural differences is that interdependent self-construal makes young adults in collectivistic societies more susceptible to criticism, and the Confucian values of modesty and shame lead to them not perceiving their bodies as sexual objects. The Christian sense of guilt does not influence the perception of sexuality. Absence of friendly behavior mediated the relation between anthropometric indices and body esteem in both cultures.
Author Małgorzata Lipowska (FSS / IPsych / DIPGP)
Małgorzata Lipowska,,
- Division of Intercultural Psychology and Gender Psychology
, Truong Thi Khanh Ha
Truong Thi Khanh Ha,,
, Mariusz Lipowski
Mariusz Lipowski,,
, Joanna Różycka-Tran (FSS / IPsych / DSP)
Joanna Różycka-Tran,,
- Division of Social Psychology
, Mariola Bidzan (FSS / IPsych / DCPN)
Mariola Bidzan,,
- Division of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology
, Ha Thu Tran
Ha Thu Tran,,
Journal seriesInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, e-ISSN 1660-4601, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.8
Article number2814
Keywords in Englishbody stigma, body image, cross-cultural psychology, gender differences
ASJC Classification2739 Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health; 2307 Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
Languageen angielski
LicenseJournal (articles only); published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 70.0, 10-03-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 3; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.129; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 2.468 (2) - 2018=2.948 (5)
Citation count*6 (2020-03-26)
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?