Adolescents’ subjective appraisals: relationships with body image and dieting attempts

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

International Journal of School Health


Samuel Chng and A. Sadiq Sani

Publication date


Background: Current concerns around obesity, physical inactivity, eating disorders and their associated health consequences sustains the need for understanding body image and disordered eating in adolescence.
Objectives: The study explored how subjective appraisals of health, familial support, wellbeing and weight are associated with body image and dieting attempts in adolescents.
Methods: The study analysed data from a population-representative UK adolescent sample of 3,684 adolescents (aged between 11 and 16) from Understanding Society. Gender-stratified hierarchical and logistic regressions modelled the relationships between the adolescents’ subjective appraisals of self (health, familial support, wellbeing and weight) and their body image and dieting attempts respectively.
Results: Subjective appraisal of being overweight was the strongest and most consistent predictor of poorer body image (Bs = 1.17 to 1.19, P < 0.01) and higher likelihood of dieting and weight loss attempts in both males (odds ratios = 9.36 to 9.76, P < 0.001) and females (odds ratio = 8.88 to 9.43, P < 0.001). Positive appraisals of health and wellbeing were associated with positive body image (Bs = 0.25 to 0.55, P < 0.001). However, positive appraisals of family support were associated with dieting attempts in males (B = 1.34, P < 0.05).
Conclusions: These highlight the importance of incorporating education components addressing wellbeing and family support into current adolescent public health programmes looking to mitigate risks of developing unhealthy weight control behaviours.







Social Networks, Psychology, Young People, Well Being and Health



Open Access; Copyright© 2017, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0