Biological, psychological and sociocultural correlates of body change strategies and eating problems in adolescent boys and girls.

P. Muris, C.M.G. Meesters, W. van de Blom, B. Mayer

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The present study examines correlates of body change strategies and eating problems in youths. A large sample of adolescents aged 12 to 16 years (N = 307) was asked to complete a set of questionnaires, which measured biological (age, pubertal status, and body mass index [BMI]), psychological (self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, body importance, and body comparison), and sociocultural variables (influence of media, parents, and peers), as well as body change strategies and disturbed eating attitudes and behaviors. Results showed that boys generally try to become more muscular, whereas girls attempt to lose weight. Further, correlational and regression analyses demonstrated that biological, psychological, and sociocultural influences made unique and significant contributions to various body image and body change/eating problems variables. Finally, hierarchical regression analyses yielded theoretically meaningful models for the main body change strategies in boys and girls. In these models, BMI, self-esteem, and sociocultural influences turned out to be significant predictor variables, while body-image-related factors, and in particular body comparison (i.e., the tendency to compare one's body with that of others), partially or fully mediated the influence of some predictor variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
JournalEating Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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