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Physical self-esteem--a ten-year follow-up study from early adolescence to early adulthood


, : Physical self-esteem--a ten-year follow-up study from early adolescence to early adulthood. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health 27(1): 31-39

One variable that has been consistently associated with adolescents' physical activity is perceived activity competence. Perceived physical (or sport) competence is considered a sub-domain to the physical self-esteem or self-worth (i.e., a person's valuation of what is good and worthy in their self-description). This study aimed to describe levels of and inter-correlations among physical self-esteem, physical activity, and body mass index in a longitudinal design spanning adolescence to early adulthood. At mean ages of 12.7, 15.7, 17.7 and 22.7 years, we measured perceived physical self-esteem in 39 (22 boys) Swedish adolescents. Physical activity (steps/day) for four consecutive schooldays, height, and weight were also measured. No significant difference between the four time points for any variable of perceived physical self-esteem was seen, neither in boys nor girls. In general, all physical self-variables revealed non-linear trajectories across time, where the general trend was an increase during the younger ages followed by a decrease during older ages. At ages 12 and 15 years in boys and girls physical condition and physical strength as well as body attractiveness and physical strength, respectively, had the strongest correlations to physical self-esteem. At age 17 and 22 years sports competence had the strongest correlation to self-esteem in girls, while body attractiveness and physical strength had the strongest correlation to self-esteem in boys. An overall stability in physical self-esteem was found. However the impact of a sub-domain upon physical self-esteem vary during adolescence and early adulthood. Such information may be useful when creating physical activity programs that support and develop physical self-esteem.

US$19.90

PMID: 24803608

DOI: 10.1515/ijamh-2014-0001


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