A Longitudinal Investigation of the Development of Weight and Muscle Concerns Among Preadolescent Boys

The study examined the impact of body mass index (BMI), negative affect, self-esteem, and sociocultural influences in the development of weight and muscle concerns among preadolescent boys. Body dissatisfaction, importance placed on weight and muscles, weight loss strategies, and strategies to increase muscles were evaluated. Participants were 237 boys aged between 8 and 11 years who were tested at three assessment periods 8 months apart. The main predictor of boys’ body change strategies was their perceived pressures to modify weight and muscles from parents, peers, and the media. The other main predictor of boys’ body change strategies and the sole predictor of body dissatisfaction was BMI. Self-esteem and negative affect were found to be weak and generally nonsignificant predictors of boys’ body image concerns and body change strategies. Additional studies that examine the risk and protective factors associated with boys’ weight and muscle concerns are needed to assist in the development of prevention programs for preadolescent boys.

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Correspondence to Lina A. Ricciardelli.

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Lina Ricciardelli is an Associate Professor at Deakin University. She received her PhD in 1990 from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her research interests are body image concerns, disordered eating and substance abuse among youth.

Marita McCabe is a Professor at Deakin University. She received her PhD in 1981 from Macquarie University, Australia. Her research interests are in body image across the lifespan, sexuality, and chronic illness

Jess Lillis is graduate student at Deakin University, She completed her undergraduate work in 2000 at Deakin University, Her research interests are body image concerns and negative affect among youth

Research Fellow at Deakin University, She received her D Psych in 2000 from Deakin University, Her interests are in disordered eating and depression among adolescents

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Ricciardelli, L.A., McCabe, M.P., Lillis, J. et al. A Longitudinal Investigation of the Development of Weight and Muscle Concerns Among Preadolescent Boys. J Youth Adolescence 35, 168 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-005-9004-7

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KEY WORDS:

  • weight and muscle concerns
  • body change strategies
  • boys
  • sociocultural influences
  • longitudinal