Body Dissatisfaction and Self-Esteem in Female Students Aged 9-15: the Effects of Age, Family Income, Body Mass Index Levels and Dance Practice

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This study aimed to analyze the effects of age, family income, body mass index and dance practice on levels of body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in female students. The sample consisted of 283 female subjects attending a public school with a mean age of 11.51±1.60 years and a mean body mass index of 18.72 kg/m2 (SD=3.32). The instruments used were the Body Dissatisfaction Scale for Adolescents and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, both of which showed good internal consistency (0.77 and 0.81, respectively). The tests were applied (two-factor ANOVA) to compare the students practicing and those not practicing dance; the differences in the levels of body dissatisfaction (p=0.104) and self-esteem (p=0.09) were considered significant. The results demonstrated that age negatively correlated with body dissatisfaction (r=-0.19; p<0.01) and that higher body mass index levels were associated with greater body dissatisfaction (r=0.15, p=0.016) and lower levels of self-esteem (r=-0.17, p<0.01) only in non-practitioners. The practice of dance had a significant effect on levels of body dissatisfaction (F=4.79; p=0.030; η2=0.02), but there was no significant difference in self-esteem (F=1.88; p=0.172; η2=0.02). It can be concluded that female children and adolescents practicing dance have higher self-esteem, and are more satisfied with their body weight and their appearance. Moreover, results showed that self-esteem and body dissatisfaction were influenced by the body mass index levels only in the nonpractitioners group.

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