Relating shape/weight based self-esteem, depression, and anxiety with weight and perceived physical health among young adults

Body Image. 2018 Jun;25:168-176. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Simultaneous contributions of self-esteem, depression, and anxiety to weight and perceived physical health in young adults is understudied. A diverse sample of 424 young adults completed measures of shape/weight based self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and perceived physical health. Height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index (BMI). Latent profile analysis was conducted to derive patterns of depression, anxiety, and shape/weight based self-esteem. Then, we examined the association of the profiles with weight status and perceived physical health. Three profiles emerged: (1) High Shape/Weight Influence (HSWI); (2) Low Shape/Weight, Depression, & Anxiety Influence (LSWDAI); and (3) High Depression & Anxiety Influence (HDAI). The HSWI profile had significantly higher BMI than the LSWDAI and HDAI profiles, and significantly lower perceived physical health than the LSWDAI profile. Over emphasis on shape/weight, regardless of depression and anxiety, is associated with elevated weight and negative internalized health views.

Keywords: Anxiety; BMI; Depression; Self-esteem; Weight and shape concerns; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Weight*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Young Adult