Cross-cultural determinants of pre-adolescent self-esteem and body image

The general framework of this research is that the sociocultural context and socio-economic conditions in different countries representing the macro-system of the transactional model of health, with varying degrees of cultural and linguistic familiarity and contact history. Culturally bound definitions of what is desirable and attractive play an important role in body image formation. Methods: The aim of this cross-cultural study was to evaluate the different effects of general self-esteem, eating attitudes and behaviors, and the subjective perception of body image in two representative samplings of urban pre-adolescents (9-12 years old). All the participants were given the following tests: LAWSEQ, ChEAT-26, CFD, and BEStudy. Results: The multiple linear regression analysis showed the relative contribution of each independent variable: the LAWSEQ score explained 12.8% of the variance of the BES score, followed by the BMI (9.3%), the ChEAT-26 score (9.1%), and the CFD (7.8%). The results showed a differential profile between the two samplings. Conclusions: General self-esteem was the strongest predictive variable associated with higher levels of body esteem, while habits and behaviors related to worry about food and the choice of a thinner body image ideal were predictive of lower body esteem, regardless of the nationality, sex, or age of the participants. Keywords: Body ideals, Preadolescents, Self-esteem, Eating disorders ​
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