n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Self-concept in overweight adolescents




Adolescence is considered a critical stage of life, and one during which body image and self-concept are of particular importance for peer acceptance and approval. Body weight may impact on satisfaction or dissatisfaction in adolescent girls' self-concept. The aim of this research was to determine the association between obesity and self-concept among adolescent girls.

The study sample consisted of 40 overweight (BMI 25 - 30) 18-year-old girls in their last year of high school. A further 40 girls of the same age with a BMI of 18 - 25 formed a control group. The Offer Self-Image Questionnaire for Adolescents (OSIQ) was used to evaluate their self-concept. Descriptive statistical methods used in analysing the data included calculation of the median and standard deviation of variables, and t-tests were used to compare group differences, with <0.05 taken as the level of significance.
Statistically significant differences between two groups were found in two components of the OSIQ, sexual attitudes (=0.044) and psychopathology (=0.020), but no differences were found in other components such as impulse control, emotional tone, body and self-image, social relations, morals, family relations, mastery of the external world, vocational educational goals and superior adjustment.
Our results suggest that overweight adolescent girls are less adjusted with regard to their sexual attitudes and present with more psychopathology as measured by the OSIQ compared with their peers of average weight.


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