Weight-related criticism and self-perceptions among preadolescents

Timothy D. Nelson, Chad D. Jensen, Ric G. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the relationships among weight-related criticism (WRC), body size perceptions, and body size dissatisfaction among a sample of preadolescent children. MethodA community sample of 382 fifth and sixth graders (M age = 10.8) completed measures of WRC, nonweight-related criticism (NWRC), body size perceptions, body size dissatisfaction, and general self-esteem. Body mass index for each participant was collected during a standard school assessment. Results WRC was a significant and unique predictor of body size perceptions and body size dissatisfaction, controlling for actual BMI percentile and NWRC. Weight status moderated these relationships, with significant effects for WRC found only in the overweight group. NWRC was a significant predictor of self-esteem. DiscussionThe results suggest that WRC is specifically and uniquely associated with preadolescent children's body self-perceptions beyond its association with general, nonweight-related victimization. Prevention efforts may be needed to limit WRC and its potentially harmful effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • body size dissatisfaction
  • body size perceptions
  • pediatric obesity
  • peer victimization
  • weight-related criticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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