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J Pediatr Psychol. 2003 Oct-Nov;28(7):463-72.

Obesity, appearance, and psychosocial adaptation in young African American children.

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  • 1University of Maryland Medical School, MD, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the contributions of weight status, skin tone, peer teasing, and parental appraisals of child's size to self-esteem and psychosocial adjustment in overweight African American children.

METHOD:

Overweight to very obese 5- to 10-year-old African American children (N = 117) completed measures of self-esteem, skin tone satisfaction, peer teasing, and body size perception. Caregivers completed the Child Behavior Checklist and rated their child's body size.

RESULTS:

Overweight was associated with low appearance self-esteem, and body size dissatisfaction with low global self-worth and low appearance self-esteem in children 8 and older. Appearance self-esteem but not global self-worth was lower in girls than boys. Parental perception of child's size as heavier than average was associated with low child appearance self-esteem. Heavier children also had more parental report of behavior and psychosocial problems, but their scores were in the nonclinical range. Child skin tone dissatisfaction was associated with low global self-worth. Weight-related peer teasing was associated with low self-esteem.

CONCLUSIONS:

The relationship between obesity and self-esteem in African American children depends upon age, gender, and children's experiences with teasing and parental evaluation of their size. Other factors, like skin tone satisfaction, contribute to a child's sense of self-worth.

PMID:
12968038
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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