Low body esteem and dietary restraint among 7-year old children: The role of perfectionism, low self-esteem, and belief in the rewards of thinness and muscularity Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Body image concerns and dietary restraint have been shown to emerge among young children (aged 5 to 8 years). However, to date, little is known regarding the way in which individual characteristics and endorsement of sociocultural appearance ideals are associated with these concerns and behaviors in this age group. The aim of the current study was to examine perceived rewards of thinness and muscularity as a mediator of the relationships between personality traits (perfectionism and self-esteem), and body esteem and dietary restraint among 7-year-old children. Participants were 261 children, Mage (SD) = 7.46 (0.32), assessed during interview on a range of scales measuring variables of interest. Findings revealed that, with the addition of direct pathways leading to dietary restraint, the model was a good fit to the data. Furthermore, multi-group analyses revealed no gender differences. These results highlight the role of children's individual personality characteristics as well as the degree to which they uphold thin and muscular appearance ideals in body image and eating concerns in 7 year olds. Additional efforts should be made to engage this age group with prevention resources and to target personality characteristics as well as beliefs in the rewards of appearance ideals.

publication date

  • 2019