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Body Perceptions in Young Children: Exploring the Relationship between Perceived Ideal Body Size, Body Dissatisfaction, and Age.

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### Thesis Defense

1. 1. Body Perceptions in Young Children: Examining the Relationship between Ideal Body Size, Body Dissatisfaction, and Age 1 A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree MASTER OF SCIENCE LYNN STIFF SPRING 2 009 DR. UMOREN, THESIS ADVISOR Department of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences
2. 2. CORRECTION 2  Statistical test used for Hypothesis 2 (p.17): Previously stated: only the Pearson correlation was used.   The Pearson correlation was used for the first half of the hypothesis “there is a positive relationship between ideal body size and body dissatisfaction.”  Pearson correlation tests for directional relationship The linear regression was used for the second half “with  ideal body size predicting body dissatisfaction”  Linear regression tests for relationships between independent and dependent relationships  In this case, ideal body size is independent and body dissatisfaction is dependent.
3. 3. CORRECTION 3  Linear Regression Model for Hypothesis 3 (p.21): Previous model had age and ideal body size as independent  variables when actually age should be the only independent variable.  A new model was conducted for each variable independently with age being independent and ideal body size and body esteem score as dependent.  Page numbers from the results forward are now off by one.
4. 4. INTRODUCTION 4  Eating and body image disturbances: 5 million people 1  Women vs. men ¾ to 3 times more in women than men2 1 10% of females suffer from symptoms that may not meet the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders.3  Onset begins between ages 10 years and 18 years.2,4
5. 5. IDEAL BODY SIZE AND BODY DISSATISFACTION 5  Risk factors:  Acceptance of a thin ideal body size5  Ages 6 years and 7 years9,12,13  Body dissatisfaction6  Increased likelihood of developing with age 9,10,14  Predicts dietary restraint and maladaptive eating behaviors10  Also predicts eating disorders in cross-sectional6,21,22 and longitudinal studies22,23  Restrained eating or dieting7
6. 6. RATIONALE 6  The ages when one begins to accept a thin ideal body size and develop body dissatisfaction are unknown.  Could help with developing age-appropriate, research-based intervention programs for eating disorders that focus on primary prevention.
7. 7. PURPOSE 7  Purpose:  Explorethe relationship between risk factors  Examine if there is a relationship between… Age and ideal body size 1. Ideal body size and body dissatisfaction 2. Age, ideal body size and body dissatisfaction 3.
8. 8. VARIABLE DEFINITIONS 8 Variable Definition Age The number of years one has been alive. Current Body Size One’s opinion of a figure that looks the most like oneself. Ideal Body Size One’s opinion of the most desired body figure .8 Discrepancy Score The numeric difference between a figure chosen as ideal body size and a figure chosen as current body size. Body Dissatisfaction The extent of one’s cognitive and affective acceptance of one’s current body size.26 Gender Male or female, as noted by one’s parent or guardian. Ethnicity The cultural group one identifies with, as noted on consent form.
9. 9. VARIABLE DEFINITIONS – DISCREPANCY SCORE 9 “The numeric difference between a figure chosen as ideal body size and a figure chosen as current body size.” Ideal Body Size – Current Body Size Ideal (2) – Current (4) = Discrepancy Score (-2) Ideal (4) – Current (2) = Discrepancy Score (+2) -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 smaller larger
10. 10. HYPOTHESES 10 There is a negative relationship between age and ideal 1. body size, such that as age increases one’s ideal body size decreases. There is a positive relationship between ideal body size 2. and body dissatisfaction, with an acceptance of a thin ideal body size predicting body dissatisfaction. Age directly plays a role in the relationship between 3. ideal body size perceptions and body dissatisfaction, such that as age increases, so do the acceptance of a thin ideal body size and body dissatisfaction.
11. 11. METHODOLOGY 11 IRB Approval: July 10, 2008  Organizations contacted:  Local school districts  Neighboring school districts  After-school programs  Day camps  Criteria:  Children ages 5 years to 12 years  Located within a thirty-mile radius of NIU  Data collection: late summer - early fall, 2008. 
12. 12. 12 CONSENT FORM PACKETS Consent form packets were distributed to all participating centers. Packets included: 1. Information about the study 2. Consent form to sign 3. List of area providers that could provide counseling and services if a child became distressed
13. 13. DAY OF DATA COLLECTION 13  Children not participating were taken to a separate room  Steps: Distributed gender-specific packet 1.  Contained the child assent form and survey instrument. The assent form was read out-loud 2. If children chose not to sign the assent form, they were  taken by their teacher or counselor to another room. The individual administering the survey began 3. the survey and read all instructions out loud.
14. 14. 14 Female Survey Tool SURVEY DESIGN FIGURE RATING SCALE • Used in other studies with adolescents27-29 • Criterion-related validity 8 • Compared the pictorial figure selections with actual weight and BMI Male Survey Tool • Increased validity as age increased • Test-retest reliability 8 • Discrepancy score was calculated by taking ideal body size minus current body size8
15. 15. 15 Validity and Reliability SURVEY DESIGN BODY ESTEEM SCALE • Construct validity was present in the original testing. 26 • Frequently used in the assessment of body Convergent: compared with similar sub-scale of the • dissatisfaction10,20,27 Self Concept Scale Divergent: Self esteem and relative weight did not • • Survey statements were correlate converted into questions to make them This tool has been used as a measure to validate other • easier to understand. scales with similar constructs.10 • Split-half reliability: odd and even scores were • Score determined by assigning one point to significantly correlated.26 each statement • Cronbach’s alpha designated as indicating 5 years α=0.7410 high body esteem.26 • 7 years α=0.84 10 • 9 years α=0.87 10 • 9 to 12 years α=0.92 27 •
16. 16. 16 PILOT STUDY SURVEY DESIGN BODY ESTEEM SCALE Conducted to determine if the questions developed from the statements of the SAMPLE QUESTIONS Body Esteem Scale were clear and Do you like what you 1. understandable to the target look like in pictures? population. Do kids your own age 2. like your looks? Are you pretty happy 3. • An additional option of “maybe” was about the way you look? added Do most people have Maybe was equated to a score of 0.5 points. 4. • a nicer body than • Modifications to questions 12, 16, 17, you do? and 20 SAMPLE ANSWER FORM 1. Yes No Maybe
17. 17. DATA ANALYSIS 17  SAS for Windows (Version 9.0), NIU Statistics Dept.  Pearson Correlation  All variables  Hypothesis one: “There is a negative relationship between age and ideal body size, such that as age increases one’s ideal body size decreases”  Part one of hypothesis two: “There is a positive relationship between ideal body size and body dissatisfaction…”
18. 18. DATA ANALYSIS 18  SPSS for Windows (Versions 15.0 and 16.0)  Linear Regressions  Part two of hypothesis two: “…with an acceptance of a thin ideal body size predicting body dissatisfaction.”  Hypothesis three: “Age directly plays a role in the relationship between ideal body size perceptions and body dissatisfaction, such that as age increases, so do the acceptance of a thin ideal body size and body dissatisfaction.”
19. 19. DATA ANALYSIS 19  SPSS for Windows (Versions 15.0 and 16.0)  Frequency Distributions  All variables  One-way ANOVA  Influence of gender and ethnicity on variables  Paired Sample t-test  Difference between ideal body size and current body size
20. 20. RESULTS 20 The sample:  42 organizations contacted 4 facilities agreed to participate   374 children invited to participate  Parents/guardians of 111 children consented 51 males, 60 females  100 children assented  46 males, 54 females  Data from 95 children used  46 males, 49 females 
21. 21. RESULTS – DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS 21 Ethnicity Means • Age: x = 7.6 ±1.5 years Other • CBS: x = 3.75 ±0.92 Not Provided • IBS: x = 3.67 ±0.90 Multicultural • t-test indicates no Indian American difference between CBS Hispanic and IBS Caucasian • DS: x = -0.09 ±1.03 African American • BES: x = 17.10 ± 5.0 0 20 40 60 80
22. 22. RESULTS – PEARSON CORRELATION 22 Pearson correlations between current body size, body esteem score, ideal body size, age, and discrepancy score Current Body Ideal Discrepancy Body Size Esteem Score Body Size Age Score Current -0.36883* 0.35970* -0.57811* 1.00 0.11904 Body Size Body -0.36883* 0.32824* 1.00 -0.01971 0.10967 Esteem Score Ideal Body 0.35970* 0.27353* 0.55340* -0.01971 1.00 Size 0.27353* 0.11904 0.10967 1.00 0.13539 Age * indicates significance at a p-value <0.05.
23. 23. RESULTS – LINEAR REGRESSION 23  Linear regression model for the influence of ideal body size on body esteem score R R2 Significance Body Esteem Score 0.20 0.00 0.850  Linear regression model for age and ideal body size and age and body esteem score R R2 Significance Ideal Body Size 0.274 0.075 0.008 Body Esteem Score 0.110 0.012 0.290
24. 24. RESULTS – ONE-WAY ANOVA 24  One-way ANOVA values for the Influence of Gender on Ethnicity Body Current Ideal Discrepancy Esteem Score Body Size Body Size Score .034 .653 .061 .185 F Gender .855 .668 .806 .421 Significance. .713 2.371* .921 1.476 F Ethnicity .640 .036 .484 .196 Significance *p <0.05 Gender and Ethnicity are independent, constant variables. Body Esteem Score, Current Body Size, Ideal Body Size, and Discrepancy Score are dependent variables
25. 25. RESULTS – BOX PLOT AND MEANS 25 Mean Current Body Size by Box-plot of Ethnicity and Ethnicity Current Body Size Ethnicity Mean African 3.92 ± 1.497 American Caucasian 3.65 ± 0.831 Hispanic 4.58 ± 0.917 Indian 2.25 ± 1.061 American Multicultural 4.00 ± 0.707 Other - Not Provided 4.17 ± 0.764
26. 26. DISCUSSION 26  Reject all hypotheses There is a negative relationship between age and ideal 1. body size, such that as age increase one’s ideal body size decreases. There is a positive relationship between ideal body size 2. and body dissatisfaction, with a thinner ideal body size predicting body dissatisfaction. Age directly plays a role in the relationship between 3. ideal body size perceptions and body dissatisfaction, such that as age increases, so do the acceptance of a thinner ideal body size and body dissatisfaction.
27. 27. ETHNICITY 27  Caucasian: 76% More diverse than similar studies cited in the literature  review  Ethnicity influenced current body size Indian American children choose smaller current body  sizes  Mean current body size chosen: 2.25 ± 1.06  Only two children were in the Indian American group - may not fully represent of their ethnic group
28. 28. AGE AND IDEAL BODY SIZE 28  Positive relationship Not expected, nor cited in the literature   Possibly due to the young age Mean age: 7.6 years   Thin ideal body size not yet accepted  Literature:  Studies have reported that children in this age group prefer a thinner ideal body size8,9,12,13  Many other studies do not find this until sometime between ages 9 years to 12 years11,16,17,19,21,27-29,33-35
29. 29. IDEAL BODY SIZE AND CURRENT BODY SIZE 29  No difference found  Positive relationship found  Larger children desire ideal body sizes larger than the ideal body sizes of smaller individuals.  Does not indicate that the ideal body size is larger than the current body size  Not cited in the literature
30. 30. IDEAL BODY SIZE AND DISCREPANCY SCORE 30  Positive relationship  As ideal body size decreased, discrepancy score decreased  Discrepancy score: Ideal – Current  Negative: Ideal body size is smaller than current body size  Positive: Ideal body size is larger than current body size
31. 31. IDEAL BODY SIZE AND DISCREPANCY SCORE 31 Current Ideal This is an example of how choosing a larger ideal body Discrepancy size than one’s Score: -4 counterpart does not necessarily indicate the choice of an ideal body Ideal Current size larger than the chosen current Discrepancy body size or than Score: -2 the counterpart’s chosen ideal body size.
32. 32. DISCREPANCY SCORE AND CURRENT BODY SIZE 32  Negative relationship found  The larger one’s current body size, the smaller one’s discrepancy score.  Literature:  None found  Has been found that the larger one’s actual current body size, calculated by BMI, was associated with a larger discrepancy score indicating a smaller ideal body size.17
33. 33. DISCREPANCY SCORE AND BODY ESTEEM SCORE 33  Positive relationship  Choice of a smaller ideal body size than current body size was related to more body dissatisfaction  Literature  Many studies have used discrepancy score to measure body size satisfaction9,16,17,34,35
34. 34. CURRENT BODY SIZE AND BODY ESTEEM SCORE 34  Negative relationship  The larger a child perceives his or her current body size to be, the less satisfied the child was with his or her own body.  Literature:  None  Positive relationship between actual current body size (measured by BMI) and body dissatisfaction11,20,27  As BMI increases, so did body dissatisfaction
35. 35. AGE, IDEAL BODY SIZE, AND BODY ESTEEM SCORE 35  No relationship  No previous studies  Age may not play a role  Other sociocultral and psychological factors may play a role: Peer and maternal influences  Media  Mental health status  Puberty   Exposure to these factors often increases with age  Age may indirectly influence the acceptance of a thin ideal body size, but is not itself a mediating factor16
36. 36. ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO EXAMINE 36  Menarche11  Is there a difference between awareness and internalization of a thin ideal body size in relation to menarche?  Difference between the awareness and internalization of a thin ideal body size27,31  Ifthis is true, then it would be important to identify when this transition from awareness to internalization occurs
37. 37. Applications 37  The present study’s results suggest body image disturbances may begin in elementary school  62% of elementary schools cover some body image education39  72% of all schools incorporate some body image education39  18% of all schools cover it thoroughly 39
38. 38. APPLICATIONS 38  Eating disorder prevention programs with at-risk individuals would be considered primary or secondary prevention.25  Primary prevention is believed to be more successful than traditional medical interventions at keeping the population healthy.25  Would consist of strengthening education and prevention efforts prior to the typical onset of the health problem
39. 39. APPLICATIONS 39  Discrepancy score could be useful in measuring body dissatisfaction  Identifyat-risk children  Allow to screen for males who have larger ideal body sizes  Discrepancy score provides three measures in one
40. 40. APPLICATIONS 40 Social Ecological Model The onset of eating and body image disturbances may be influenced by the various levels of the SEM.
41. 41. APPLICATIONS 41  Eating disorder prevention programs have more significant results when43:  Participants older than age 15 years  Interactive  Contained dissonance content  Focused on body acceptance  Administered by an interventionist  Only focused on females  Selected rather than universal
42. 42. LIMITATIONS 42  Non-probability, convenience sample  Only 9.5% of contacted centers participated  Small sample size (95 participants)  Largely Caucasian (76%)  Young average age (7.6 years)
43. 43. CONCLUSIONS 43  Age was positively related to ideal body size  Similar studies often report an inverse relationship - increased age correlates with a thin ideal body size8,9,11-13,16,17,19,21,27-29,33-35  May be due to the young age of the sample (mean=7.6 years).  Beneficial to replicate this study using a sample with: older mean age An Larger sample sizes of each gender.
44. 44. CONCLUSIONS 44  The larger a child’s chosen current body size:  The more body dissatisfaction  The smaller that child’s chosen ideal body size was to that child’s chosen current body size (discrepancy score).  Examine if this relationship is actual body size (BMI) or one’s perception of actual body size.  Would allow more accurate screening results  BMI from physicals to obtain actual current body size  Figure Rating Scale to obtain perceived current body size
45. 45. CONCLUSIONS 45  Examine present results with previous research to improve eating disorder prevention programs.  Few schools are covering body image thoroughly  Primary prevention could be integrated into the curriculum of schools covering the topic of body image
46. 46. 46 Questions?