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Developmental Patterns in Body Esteem from Late Childhood to Young Adulthood – a Growth Curve Analysis

Journal article
Authors Ann Frisén
Carolina Lunde
Anne Ingeborg Berg
Published in European Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume 12
Issue 1
Pages 99-115
ISSN 1740-5629
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 99-115
Language en
Keywords Children, Young adults, Growth curve analysis, Adolescents, Body esteem
Subject categories Psychology


This study examines the long-term development of different domains of body esteem (BE), the most salient domain of adolescents' global self-esteem. The 11-year longitudinal study of Swedish youths, covering ages 10-21, showed that BE undergoes significant change from late childhood to young adulthood, with growth curve models revealing different developmental paths between domains and across gender. For girls, general appearance esteem and weight esteem decreased in the early adolescent phase and then stabilized. For boys, similar patterns were evident, but weight esteem was subject to change also in late adolescence. The third BE domain, appearance-evaluations ascribed to others, displayed a distinct developmental trajectory. This was the only domain where no gender differences were noted in terms of mean levels. It was also the only domain that demonstrated positive increases over time. Findings from the present long-term study contribute to a more coherent picture of the development of BE from late childhood and into young adulthood.

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