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The link between body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in adolescents: similarities across gender, age, weight status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status



The link between body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in adolescents: similarities across gender, age, weight status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status



Journal of Adolescent Health 47(3): 290-296



The present study examined whether the cross-sectional association between body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem varies across gender, age, body weight status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES). We also examined the association longitudinally. A school-based survey of eating, weight, and related attitudes was conducted with a diverse sample of adolescents aged 11-18 years (N = 4,746). Height and weight were measured in the schools at Time 1. Participants were resurveyed through mails 5 years later (Time, 2; N = 2,516). The relationship between body dissatisfaction and self-esteem was strong and significant in both boys and girls (all p values < .0001), and did not differ significantly between genders (p = .16), or between the middle school and high school cohorts in either boys (p = .79) or girls (p = .80). Among girls, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and self-esteem was strong, but did vary across weight status, race/ethnicity, and SES (all p values = .0001-.03). The relationship was nonsignificant in underweight girls (p = .36), and weaker but still significant among black, Asian, and low SES group girls (all p values < .0001) in comparison to white and high SES group girls. Among boys, the association did not differ significantly across demographic groups (all p values = .18-.79). In longitudinal analyses, the strength of the association did not change significantly as adolescents grew older. Findings indicate that body dissatisfaction and self-esteem are strongly related among nearly all groups of adolescents. This suggests the importance of addressing body image concerns with adolescents of all backgrounds and ages.

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Accession: 056396382

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 20708569

DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.02.004


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