Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1398–1408 | Cite as

Fear of Negative Evaluation and Weight/Shape Concerns among Adolescents: The Moderating Effects of Gender and Weight Status

  • N. Trompeter
  • K. Bussey
  • P. Hay
  • J. Mond
  • S. B. Murray
  • A. Lonergan
  • S. Griffiths
  • K. Pike
  • D. Mitchison
Empirical Research


Fear of negative evaluation has been linked with weight/shape concerns among adults, however, similar research among adolescents is lacking. We investigated the relationship between fear of negative evaluation and weight/shape concerns, including the moderating roles of gender and body mass index (BMI) in adolescents. Participant were 4045 Australian adolescents (53.7% girls) aged 11–19 years (Mage = 14 years 11 months), who completed a self-report questionnaire about weight/shape concerns, fear of negative evaluation, and weight and height. Results showed a positive association between fear of negative evaluation and weight/shape concerns, with the association being stronger among girls. Furthermore, the association between fear of negative evaluation and weight/shape concerns was stronger among adolescents with higher BMIs, especially so for boys. These results highlight the role of fear of negative evaluation in weight/shape concerns and suggest potential avenues for prevention programs.


Fear of negative evaluation Weight and shape concerns Body image Adolescence Eating disorders 


Authors' Contributions

N.T. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; D.M. received funding for the project, conceived of the study, participated in the design and coordination, and assisted with manuscript preparation; K.B. participated in the design and coordination of the study, participated in the interpretation of the data, and assisted with manuscript preparation; P.H., J.M., S.M., K.P. participated in the design of the study, and assisted with manuscript preparation; A.L. participated in the coordination of the study, assisted with preparing the data set for statistical analyses, and assisted with manuscript preparation; S.G. participated in the design of the study, provided advice on statistical analyses, and assisted with manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was funded by Macquarie University under a Research Fellowship Scheme awarded to Dr. Deborah Mitchison (grant number X 16322420).

Data Sharing Declaration

Deidentified data are available upon request from the senior author (D.M.), pertaining to approval from the authors’ institutional ethics committe

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Professor Hay receives/has received sessional fees and lecture fees from the Australian Medical Council, Therapeutic Guidelines publication, and New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry and royalties/honoraria from Hogrefe and Huber, McGraw Hill Education, and Blackwell Scientific Publications, Biomed Central and PlosMedicine and she has received research grants from the NHMRC and ARC. She is Deputy Chair of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration Steering Committee in Australia (2012-) and Member of the ICD-11 Working Group for Eating Disorders (2012-) and was Chair Clinical Practice Guidelines Project Working Group (Eating Disorders) of RANZCP (2012-2015). She has prepared a report under contract for Shire Pharmaceuticals in regards to Binge Eating Disorder (July 2017) and is a consultant to Shire Pharmaceuticals. All views in this paper are her own. Deborah Mitchison and Scott Griffiths are members of the executive of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders. Stuart Murray receives royalties from Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis for two academic textbooks relating to eating disorders. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Centre for Emotional HealthMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Translational Health Research Institute, School of MedicineWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Rural HealthUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  5. 5.NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Melbourne School of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy ResearchColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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