Pesa, Jacqueline (1999). Psychosocial factors associated with dieting behaviors among female adolescents. Journal of School Health.
vol. 69 (5) pp. 196-201
This study determined whether female adolescents who were attempting weight loss (dieters) differ from those who were not (nondieters) with respect to a set of psychosocial factors. The sample consisted of 2,536 normal-weight and underweight female adolescents who participated in the National Longitudinal Adolescent Health Survey. Psychosocial factors examined included depression (four measures), self-esteem, trouble in school, school connectedness, family connectedness, sense of community (two measures), grades, autonomy, and protective factors. MANCOVA revealed significant differences between dieters and nondieters. Self-esteem was the strongest contributing factor differentiating dieters and nondieters. These results have implications for health education and health promotion with regard to both primary and secondary prevention. Self-esteem building should be incorporated within the parameters of a comprehensive school health program and certainly should be a component in any nutrition education program aimed at preventing unhealthy dieting behaviors. By understanding the factors associated with these behaviors, it may be easier to identify individuals attempting weight loss despite being of normal or low body weight.
Journal of School Health