Body-esteem scale for adolescents...
Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults Beverley K. Mendelson Department of Psychology Concordia University Morton J. Mendelson Department of Psychology McGill University Donna R. White Department of Psychology Concordia University Body esteem (BE) refers to self-evaluations of one���s body or appearance. This article outlines a BE questionnaire for adolescents and adults that has 3 subscales: BE���Ap- pearance (general feelings about appearance), BE���Weight (weight satisfaction), and BE���Attribution (evaluations attributed to others about one���s body and appearance). The subscales have high internal consistency and 3-month test���retest reliability. Fe- males scored lower than males on BE���Weight and BE���Appearance. BE���Weight was the only subscale uniquely related to weight, especially in females, with heavy indi- viduals tending to be dissatisfied with their weight. BE���Appearance was the only subscale that consistently predicted self-esteem. BE���Appearance and BE���Weight covaried more with Neeman and Harter���s (1986) Appearance subscale than with other self-esteem subscales BE���Attribution covaried more with social self-esteem subscales than did BE���Appearance and BE���Weight. Body esteem (BE) refers to self-evaluations of one���s body or appearance and has typically been conceptualized as a global construct, regardless of whether it has been measured by self-report questionnaires (Gray, 1977 Harter, 1985, 1988 B. K. Mendelson & White, 1985), open-ended interviews (Allon, 1979), or reactions to body-related words (Secord & Jourard, 1953). Nonetheless, some researchers have identified what may be termed domains of BE. For example, Tucker (1981) factor JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT, 76(1), 90���106 Copyright �� 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
analyzed Secord and Jourard���s (1953) Body Cathexis Scale, which was assumed to be unidimensional, and he identified the following domains: health and physical fitness, face and overall appearance, subordinate and independent body features, and physique and muscular strength. However, Tucker���s limited sample size raises questions about the stability of the results. Franzoi and Shields (1984) developed their own measure, which was not based on the assumption of unidimensionality they obtained evidence that, for males, the relevant domains are physical attractive- ness, upper body strength, and physical condition, whereas for females the domains are sexual attractiveness, weight concern, and physical condition. However, their measure is not appropriate for young adolescents. B. K. Mendelson, White, and Mendelson (1996���1997) corroborated that feel- ings about one���s weight can be differentiated from feelings about one���s general appearance, and they further suggested that one���s own opinions may be differen- tiated from the opinions attributed to others. However, there were limitations in their measure it included a dichotomous response format, which, strictly speak- ing, raises questions about factor analyzing the data. Therefore, an expanded in- strument was developed to tap three factors: general feelings about appearance (e.g., ���I like what I see when I look in the mirror���), weight satisfaction (e.g., ���I really like what I weigh���), and evaluations attributed to others about one���s body and appearance (e.g., ���People my own age like my looks ��� B. K. Mendelson, White, & Balfour, 1995). We are not claiming that these are the only BE domains. Nonetheless, BE mea- sures do not always distinguish between self-evaluations of appearance and of weight for example, Neeman and Harter���s (1986) Appearance subscale has both weight and appearance items. Moreover, the issue of others��� opinions seems espe- cially relevant to adolescents. The purpose of this article is to outline the evolution of a BE scale suitable for adolescents and adults from its original form as a scale for children (B. K. Mendelson & White, 1982). The original Body-Esteem Scale for Children (B. K. Mendelson & White, 1993���1994) taps children���s affective evaluations of their bodies and appearance it comprises 24 yes���no items that all have obvious face va- lidity (e.g., ���I like what I look like in pictures���). The background and data on the reliability and validity of the scale are outlined elsewhere (B. K. Mendelson & White, 1993���1994), and the scale was used in two studies that demonstrated good split-half reliability (B. K. Mendelson & White, 1982, 1985). Moreover, over- weight children had lower BE than their normal-weight peers, and this was espe- cially true for girls this was consistent with earlier findings (Allon, 1979 Dwyer, Feldman, Seltzer, & Mayer, 1969 Gray, 1977 Hendry & Gillies, 1978 Miller, Coffman, & Linke, 1980 Stunkard & Mendelson, 1967). In a subsequent study (B. K. Mendelson et al., 1996���1997), 4 items were dropped from the original measure, and the 20-item scale was administered to a large number of youngsters between 8 and 15 years old, some of whom were tested BODY-ESTEEM SCALE 91
twice over 2 years. A factor analysis with oblique rotation was applied to the data, and a three-factor solution was adopted after eliminating 2 items that did not ex- ceed a loading of .5 on any of the factors. The analysis suggested that BE consists of three factors: BE���Appearance (general feelings about appearance), represented by 12 items BE���Weight (weight satisfaction), represented by 3 items and BE���At- tribution (evaluations attributed to others about one���s body and appearance), rep- resented by 3 items (see B. K. Mendelson & White, 1993���1994, for details). However, improvements to the scale were still necessary. The yes���no re- sponse format was originally adopted because it was suitable for children, but it was changed to a 5-point Likert scale on which respondents rated their degree of agreement with each statement. A 5-point scale is more robust than a dichoto- mous scale and provides data that more fully meet the assumptions of factor analysis. Although the BE���appearance subscale remained intact at 12 items, both the BE���Weight and the BE���Attribution subscales were increased from 3 items to 9 items to improve their reliability. Finally, some of the items were re- written to make them age appropriate for adolescents and adults. The goals of this study were to test a 30-item version of the Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA) with a large developmental sample, to shorten the scale to between 20 and 24 items, and to verify the reliability and valid- ity of the scale in a number of ways. The factor structure of the scale was examined to confirm���in Tabachnik and Fidell���s (1989) use of the term���that the three a pri- ori subscales applied to data from adolescents and young adults. We verified the internal consistency of the subscales, and we examined their test���retest reliability for a subsample of participants. In addition, we examined how the different BE subscales relate to sex, age, and weight. In line with previous research with different measures (B. K. Mendelson et al., 1996���1997 M. J. Mendelson, Mendelson, & Andrews, 2000), we hypothe- sized that females would have lower BE than males and that weight would uniquely affect BE���Weight (weight satisfaction) more than the other subscales. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE Rosenberg, 1979) or the Global Self-Worth subscale (Neeman & Harter, 1986) was also administered to the partic- ipants to enable a test of the convergent validity of the BE measures. Global self-esteem seems to be highly related to unidimensional self-evaluations of physi- cal appearance across the life span (Harter, 1993). We hypothesized that global self-esteem would be more highly related to general feelings about appearance than to weight satisfaction or to evaluations attributed to others about one���s body and appearance. Finally, the discriminant validity of the BE subscales was confirmed in a subsample of participants by examining correlations between the BE measures and a number of Neeman and Harter���s (1986) domain-specific subscales (ap- pearance, close friendships, social acceptance, romantic relationships, and pa- rental relationships). Neeman and Harter���s Appearance subscale includes two 92 MENDELSON, MENDELSON, WHITE