Body Appreciation Scale (BAS-2): measurement invariance across genders and item response theory examination

BMC Psychol. 2021 Jul 30;9(1):114. doi: 10.1186/s40359-021-00609-3.


Background: The present study considers a measure of positive body image, the Body Appreciation Scale-2, which assesses acceptance and/or favourable opinions towards the body (BAS-2). Potential variations of the psychometric properties of the scale across males and females, as well as across its different items invite for further investigation. The present study contributes to this area of knowledge via the employment of gender Measurement Invariance (MI) and Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses.

Methods: A group of 386 adults from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America (USA) were assessed online (N = 394, 54.8% men, 43.1% women, Mage = 27.48; SD = 5.57).

Results: MI analyses observed invariance across males and females at the configural level, and non-invariance at the metric level. Further, the graded response model employed to observe IRT properties indicated that all items demonstrated, although variable, strong discrimination capacity.

Conclusions: The items showed increased reliability for latent levels of ∓ 2 SD from the mean level of Body Appreciation (BA). Gender comparisons based on BAS-2 should be cautiously interpreted for selected items, due to demonstrating different metric scales and same scores indicating different severity. The BAS-2 may also not perform well for clinically low and high BA levels. Thus, it should optimally be accompanied by clinical interviews for formal assessment in such cases.

Keywords: Body appreciation; Gender; Item response theory; Measurement invariance; Positive psychology; Psychometric properties.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Body Image*
  • Canada
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United Kingdom
  • United States