The study was conducted to examine the impact of sociocultural influences and the moderating role of self-esteem and negative affect on body dissatisfaction and body change strategies for both adolescent boys and girls. Surveys designed to assess body dissatisfaction, body change strategies to decrease weight and increase muscles, perceived sociocultural pressures to lose weight and increase muscles, self-esteem and negative affect were administered to 587 boys and 598 girls aged between 11 and 15 years. The majority of respondents were from Anglo-Australian backgrounds (83%) with the remainder being from Asian and European non-English-speaking backgrounds. The sociocultural influences were found to significantly predict body dissatisfaction and body change strategies for both boys and girls. However, in the case of boys, self-esteem was found to moderate the impact of the sociocultural influences in predicting body change strategies. It was primarily the boys with low self-esteem who were more affected by the sociocultural pressures whereas the girls were affected independently of their self-esteem. Negative affect was also found to play a moderating role on some of the sociocultural influences in predicting strategies to increase muscles. Both boys and girls with higher levels of negative affect were more likely to be affected by sociocultural messages directed at increasing muscles. The results from the present study demonstrate that as well as examining the direct influence of sociocultural pressures, it is also important to examine how these may be moderated by self-esteem and negative affect.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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