Effects of Turner Syndrome on Women’s Self-Esteem and Body Image

  • Stephanie J. Cragg
  • Kathryn D. LafreniereEmail author
Original Article


The present study examined if women with Turner Syndrome (n = 24) differed from women without Turner Syndrome (n = 63) in self-esteem and body image. Women with Turner Syndrome were recruited through the Turner Syndrome Society of Canada and from Turner Syndrome Facebook groups, while the comparison group was comprised of undergraduate university students. Questionnaire measures included the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg 1965), the State Self-Esteem Scale (Heatherton and Polivy 1991), and the Body-Esteem Scale (Mendelson and White 1982). It was hypothesized that women with Turner Syndrome, who tend to be short in stature, would have lower self-esteem and poorer body image than women without Turner Syndrome. While women with Turner Syndrome scored significantly lower on body esteem and on general, social, and appearance-related self-esteem, it is notable that they did not differ from women without Turner Syndrome on performance-related self-esteem. Implications related to the promotion of positive body image and self-esteem in girls and young women with Turner Syndrome are discussed.


Turner Syndrome Self-esteem Body image Body esteem 


  1. Booth, N. D. (1989). The relationship between height and self-esteem and the mediating effect of self-consciousness. Journal of Social Psychology, 130(5), 609–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Charney, S., & Smillie, A. (1987). The X’s and O’s of Turner’s Syndrome (2nd ed.). Toronto: Turner Syndrome Society of Canada.Google Scholar
  3. Christopoulos, P., Deligeoroglou, E., Laggari, V., Christogiorgos, S., & Creatsas, G. (2008). Psychological and behavioural aspects of patients with Turner syndrome from childhood to adulthood: A review of the clinical literature. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 29(1), 45–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Clay, D., Vignoles, V. L., & Dittmar, H. (2005). Body image and self-esteem among adolescent girls: Testing the influence of sociocultural factors. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(4), 451–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crocker, J., Cornwell, B., & Major, B. (1993). The stigma of overweight: affective consequences of attributional ambiguity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(1), 60–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Daley, K. A., Jimerson, D. C., Heatherton, T. F., Metzger, E. D., & Wolfe, B. E. (2008). State self-esteem ratings in women with bulimia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in remission. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 41(2), 159–163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Davison, T. E., & McCabe, M. P. (2006). Adolescent body image and psychosocial functioning. Journal of Social Psychology, 146(1), 15–30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Eisenberg, M. E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Paxton, S. J. (2006). Five-year change in body satisfaction among adolescents. Journal of Psychometric Research, 61, 521–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Forbes, G. B., Jobe, R. L., & Revak, J. A. (2006). Relationships between dissatisfaction with specific body characteristics and the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearances Questionnaire-3 and Objectified Body Consciousness Scale. Body Image, 3, 295–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Gallagher, S. (2005). Dynamic models of body schematic processes. In H. De Preester & V. Knockaert (Eds.), Body image and body schema: Advances in consciousness research (Vol 62). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  11. Gravholt, C. H., Juul, S., Naeraa, R. W., & Hansen, J. (1998). Morbidity in Turner Syndrome. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 51(2), 147–158.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Harrison, K. (2003). Television viewers’ ideal body proportions: The case of the curvaceously thin woman. Sex Roles, 48(5/6), 255–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haverkamp, F., Dörholt, D., Ranke, M. B., & Noeker, M. (2000). Determinants for body image and coping in patients with Turner Syndrome. Growth Hormone and IGF Research, 10(2), S165.Google Scholar
  14. Heatherton, T. F., & Polivy, J. (1991). Development and validation of a scale for measuring state self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(6), 895–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mendelson, B. K., & White, D. R. (1982). Relation between body-esteem and self-esteem of obese and normal children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 53(3, Pt 1), 899–905.Google Scholar
  16. O’Brian, G., & Gillberg, C. (2000). Introduction: Different disabilities, different behaviours—Same management? In C. Gillberg & G. O’Brian (Eds.), Developmental disability and behaviour: Clinics in developmental medicine (Vol 149, pp. 1–11). Suffolk: Lavenham.Google Scholar
  17. O’Dea, J. A. (2006). Self-concept, self-esteem and body weight in adolescent females: A three-year longitudinal study. Journal of Health Psychology, 11(4), 599–611.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Pedreira, C. C., Hameed, R., Kanumakala, S., & Zacharin, M. (2006). Health care problems of Turner Syndrome in the adult woman: A cross sectional study of a Victorian cohort and a case for transition. Internal Medicine, 36, 54–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Piers, E. V. (1984). Piers-Harris children’s self-concept scale. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  20. Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical view. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 435–468.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Rickert, V. I., Hassed, S. J., Hendon, A. E., & Cunniff, C. (1996). The effects of peer ridicule on depression and self-image among adolescent females with Turner Syndrome. Journal of Adolescent Health, 19(1), 34–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Robins, R. W., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2005). Self-esteem development across the lifespan. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(3), 158–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Robins, R. W., Hendin, H. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2001). Measuring global self-esteem: Construct validation of a single-item measure and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(2), 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rovet, J. (1993). The psychoeducational characteristics of children with Turner Syndrome. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 26(5), 333–341.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Schmidt, P. J., Cardoso, G. M. P., Ross, J. L., Haq, N., Rubinow, D. R., & Bondy, C. A. (2006a). Shyness, social anxiety, and impaired self-esteem in Turner Syndrome and premature ovarian failure. [Letter to the Editor]. Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(12), 1374–1376.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Schmidt, P. J., Rubinow, D. R., & Bondy, C. A. (2006b). Adult women with Turner Syndrome: A systematic evaluation of current and past psychiatric illness, social functioning, and self-esteem. International Congress Series, 1298, 100–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Skuse, D. (1987). The psychological consequences of being small. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28(5), 641–650.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Soriano-Guillen, L., Coste, J., Ecosse, E., Léger, J., Tauber, M., Cabrol, S., et al. (2005). Adult height and pubertal growth in Turner Syndrome after recombinant growth hormone. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 90(9), 5197–5204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stamenov, M. I. (2005). Body schema, body image, and mirror neurons. In H. De Preester & V. Knockaert (Eds.), Body image and body schema: Advances in consciousness research (Vol 62). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  31. Suls, J., Martin, R., & Wheeler, L. (2002). Social comparison: Why, with whom and with what effect? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5), 159–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Theunissen, N. C. M., Kamp, G. A., Koopman, H. M., Zwindermann, K. A. H., Vogels, T., & Wit, J. M. (2002). Quality of life and self-esteem in children treated for idiopathic short stature. Journal of Pediatrics, 140(5), 507–515.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Wechsler, D. (1974). Wechsler intelligence scale for children- revised. San Antonio: Psychological Corp.Google Scholar
  34. Wide Boman, U., Bryman, I., & Möller, A. (2004). Psychological well-being in women with Turner syndrome: Somatic and social correlates. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 25, 211–219.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

Personalised recommendations