Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research


The purpose of this study was to assess the beliefs and attitudes college women hold towards their hair and other women’s hair. Previous literature has found that women are the most likely to be dissatisfied with their appearances and have lower self-esteem compared to their male counterparts. However, research has not focused on particular characteristics of appearance that may account for differences in selfesteem. The purpose of this study was to understand the beliefs and attitudes college women hold towards their hair and other women’s hair. Participants (n = 35) in the current study were asked to take a survey that assessed their self-esteem, hair-esteem, personality, hair type, reflected appraisals of hair as well as demographic information. Results indicated that there are ethnic differences in reflected appraisals of hair with Asians, most often, rating a straight-haired model as attractive and African-Americans rating the same model as least attractive. For a model with short kinky hair, Asians were more likely to find her more attractive compared to other racial groups. Results indicated slight hair type differences in self-esteem across the 10 different hair types, with women with type 2b hair reporting the lowest self-esteem out of all other hair type groups. Female participants with type 4b reported the highest levels of self-esteem, however this data was not significant (p =.91). The current research added to the knowledge base about the beliefs and attitudes that college women have towards hair and how those beliefs and attitudes can be influenced by a women’s hair type, personality, self-esteem, or ethnicity. Future research should include a close reexamination of ethnic differences in relation to appraisals of hair. Keywords: self-esteem, hair, hair-esteem, women, college-aged women, personality, hair type