Body Image Disturbance and Skin Bleaching

31 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2016

See all articles by Christopher Charles

Christopher Charles

University of the West Indies

Shua-Kym McLean

Swarthmore College

Date Written: June 19, 2016


This study looks at body image disturbance among Jamaicans who bleach their skin. The hypothesis states that there is a positive relationship between skin bleaching and body image disturbance. The study used a convenience sample of 160 participants with a skin bleaching group (n=80) and a non-bleaching comparison group (n=80). The instrument included demographic questions, the body image disturbance questionnaire, and questions about skin bleaching. The results of a t-test reveals that the skin bleaching group (M=1.5255, SD=0.42169) is not significantly different from the non-bleaching group (M=1.4938, SD=0.74217) in terms of body image disturbance, t: (158) =0.333, p=0.740. The participants who bleach do not suffer from body image disturbance. Self-reports reveal that they bleach to acquire beauty, attract a partner, elude the police, and market skin bleaching products. The practice is a style that is fashionable and popular and it makes some participants feel good, while others are fans of a popular musical artiste who bleaches his skin. Participants bleach because of the perceived personal, social and entrepreneurial benefits of the practice and not because they are preoccupied and concerned with their body image based on skin color.

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher and McLean, Shua-Kym, Body Image Disturbance and Skin Bleaching (June 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7

Shua-Kym McLean

Swarthmore College ( email )

500 College Ave
Swarthmore, PA 19081
United States

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