Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Psychological Characteristics and Health Related Behavior of Adolescents: The Possible Roles of Social Physique Anxiety and Gender

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Psychological Characteristics and Health Related Behavior of Adolescents: The Possible Roles of Social Physique Anxiety and Gender

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not the social physique anxiety level and gender have an influence on psychological characteristics and health related behavior of adolescents. Five hundred and ninety eight female (M^sub age^ = 14.95, SD = .70 years) and three hundred and eighty four male (M^sub age^ = 15.08, SD = .76 years) adolescents voluntarily participated in this study. The Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS), three subscales of the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire, and the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale as indicators of psychological characteristics were administered to all participants. The Eating Attitude Test and Physical Activity Assessment Questionnaire were used to determine health related behavior. It was found that adolescents with high levels of SPA (HSPA) had more unfavourable eating attitudes, higher scores in socially-prescribed perfectionism, negative global physical self-worth and negative body related perceptions than those with low levels of SPA (LSPA). Physical activity levels of adolescents did not differ in the two SPA groups (high/low level). In addition, male adolescents in the present study were more physically active and had favorable eating attitudes and more positive self-perceptions of body fat and general physical self-worth than their female counterparts.

Keywords: social physique anxiety, eating attitudes, perfectionism, physical self, physical activity.

El objetivo de este estudio fue investigar si el nivel de ansiedad física social y el género tienen o no, influencia sobre las características psicológicas y la conducta saludable de los adolescentes. En esta investigación participaron voluntariamente 598 chicas (M^sub age^ = 14.95, SD = 0.70 años) y 384 chicos (M^sub age^ = 15.08, SD = 0.76 años) en edad adolescente. Como indicadores de las características psicológicas, a todos los participantes se les aplicó la Escala de Ansiedad Física y Social (SPAS), tres subescalas del Cuestionario de Auto-percepción Física, y la Escala Multidimensional de Perfeccionismo. El Test de Actitudes Alimentarias y el Cuestionario de Valoración de Actividad Física fueron utilizados para determinar la conducta saludable. Se descubrió que los adolescentes con altos niveles de ansiedad física social (HSPA) poseían más actitudes alimentarias desfavorables, mayores puntuaciones en perfeccionismo socialmente prescrito, menor autoestima física y percepciones negativas en relación con su cuerpo, que aquellos con bajos niveles de ansiedad física social (LSPA). Los niveles de actividad física de los adolescentes no se diferenciaban en los dos grupos (alto y bajo nivel de ansiedad física social). Además, en el presente estudio, los varones adolescentes eran físicamente más activos, tenían buenas actitudes alimentarias, una más positiva auto-percepción de la grasa corporal y una mejor autoestima física general, que sus homólogas femeninas.

Palabras clave: ansiedad física social, actitudes alimentarias, perfeccionismo, yo físico, actividad física.

Impression management is a pervasive part of any individual's life, and individuals try to create the desired impression in a variety of environmental and social settings - at a job interview, in the school environment, when buying clothes, going out to a party/dance, being next to someone with a good physique, being the center of attention, in exercise and sporting activities and so on. In addition, people who are particularly attuned to others' perception of them are concerned about behaving in accordance with situational norms, worried about social approval and disapproval, or anxious about other people's perceptions and evaluations of them, or they are anxious about the evaluation of their own physique. Within the selfpresentation framework, an affective response reflecting concerns with how one's body is judged by others is known as Social Physique Anxiety (Leary, 1992). In other words, this response is defined as an anxiety that people experience in response to others' evaluations of their physiques (Hart, Leary, & Rejeski, 1989). …

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