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How deep is skin-deep? The relationship between skin color satisfaction, estimation of body image, and self-esteem among women of African descent


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Winnie Mucherah, Department of Educational Psychology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA. E-mail:


The study of skin color and its relationship to body (dis)satisfaction and self-esteem is critical to expanding upon the research that explores the intersection between body image and the sociocultural experience of women of the African diaspora. To this end, the relationships between skin color satisfaction, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem were examined in a sample of 328 women of African descent. Results revealed a significant effect for ethnicity and employment status on body dissatisfaction, skin color satisfaction, and self-esteem. Follow-up analyses revealed that Afro-Caribbean women were the most satisfied with their body shape, biracial women were most satisfied with their skin color, and women who self-identified as professionals had the highest self-esteem. Implications for the findings are discussed.