Body image dissatisfaction: gender differences in eating attitudes, self-esteem, and reasons for exercise

J Psychol. 2002 Nov;136(6):581-96. doi: 10.1080/00223980209604820.


Two hundred and thirty-five adolescents completed a questionnaire on the subject of eating attitudes, self-esteem, reasons for exercise, and their ideal versus current body size and shape. As predicted, boys were as likely to want to be heavier as lighter, whereas very few girls desired to be heavier. Only girls associated body dissatisfaction with the concept of self-esteem. Male self-esteem was not affected by body dissatisfaction. Specific reasons for exercise were found to correlate with low self-esteem and disordered eating, regardless of sex. The results are discussed in relation to burgeoning published research in this area.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude*
  • Body Image*
  • England
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / prevention & control
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors