Psychosocial Aspects of Female Topless Behavior on Australian Beaches

Edward Herold, Bruna Corbesi, John Collins

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Scripting theory was used to develop a psychosocial understanding of female topless behavior on Australian public beaches. The major objectives of this exploratory study were to (a) obtain descriptive data about female topless behavior and (b) determine predictor variables of female topless behavior. Female psychology students (N = 116) attending Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, completed questionnaires. About half the women had been topless at a public beach. Those who had ever gone topless were less likely to believe that going topless was sexual, had more permissive sexual attitudes, attended church less often, had a more favourable attitude to going topless, believed that the community approved of topless behaviour, believed that significant others were approving of topless behavior, and had higher self-esteem and higher body image. In two stepwise regression models, the sexual attitudes of the women were the best predictor of topless behavior. The study has potential policy implications in that there is an ongoing debate in many parts of North America about whether female toplessness should be permitted at public beaches. The data, particularly with regard to the sexuality dimensions, could provide useful insights in enlightening participants in this debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Sex Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994

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