Perception of current and desired body size in early childhood

León González, María P., González-Martí, Irene, López-Sánchez, Guillermo F. and Contreras Jordán, Onofre R. (2021) Perception of current and desired body size in early childhood. Psychology, Society and Education, 13 (3). pp. 81-92. ISSN 1989-709X

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Body image is a construct of social relevance given its impact on physical and mental health. The research of this construct at an early age has received little attention despite some authors have demonstrated that there is concern towards the body in preschool age. This mixed design study aimed to measure body size perception, desired body and body dissatisfaction among children of young age. For that purpose, Preschoolers’ Body Scale, composed of four children figures with different weight status, was administered to 176 participants of 4 and 5 years, of which 96 were boys and 80 were girls. Results showed that body size perception was inaccurate in both sexes and ages, tending towards greater overestimation in girls. It was also observed that most participants chose the desired figure different from the perceived one, especially females. However, this finding does not necessarily reflect the existence of body dissatisfaction, as qualitative data suggest. Participants’ responses appear to reflect a slight body awareness. Future studies that deepen in body image development at early ages are needed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Body image, Body size perception, Children, Desired body size
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 13:12
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23

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