Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Multidimensional Structure of Physical Self-Concept

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Multidimensional Structure of Physical Self-Concept

Article excerpt

The present study aims to analyze the dimensionality of physical self-concept through confirmatory factor analysis of the AFI questionnaire (Esnaola, 2005; Esnaola & Goñi, 2006) and to compare two models: a) a quadri-dimensional model in which physical self-concept is made up of the sub-domains ability, condition, attractiveness and strength, and, b) a threefactor model in which the items corresponding to ability and condition are grouped together as one factor. The sample consists of 1,259 participants ranging in age from 12 to 84 years old (700 women and 556 men) who were divided into four groups as a function of age: 627 adolescents (12-18 years old), 272 young people (19-30 years old), 248 middle-aged adults (31-49 years old) and 112 people over 55, all living in the Basque Autonomous Region of Spain. The results indicate that the quadri-dimensional model of physical self-concept fits the data better than the three-dimensional model (which showed poor goodness of fit) for the study's total sample, as well as within the male and female sub-samples. Furthermore, the fourfactor model was found to be stable throughout adolescence, youth and middle-age, but not for the group of adults over 55.

Keywords: physical self-concept, self-perception, dimensionality.

Este estudio trata de analizar la dimensionalidad del autoconcepto físico mediante el análisis factorial confirmatorio del cuestionario AFI (Esnaola, 2005; Esnaola y Goñi, 2006) comparando dos modelos: a) un modelo cuatridimensional en el que el autoconcepto físico se compone de los subdominios de habilidad, condición, atractivo y fuerza; y, b) un modelo de tres factores en el que los ítems de habilidad y condición se agrupan en un factor. La muestra está compuesta por 1259 participantes entre los 12 y 84 años (700 mujeres y 556 varones) divididos en cuatro grupos en función de su edad: 627 adolescentes (12-18 años), 272 jóvenes (19-30 años), 248 adultos (31-49 años) y 112 personas mayores de 55 años de la Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco. Los resultados indican que el modelo cuatridimensional del autoconcepto físico se ajusta mejor que el modelo de tres factores (que no se ajusta bien) a los datos de la muestra total del estudio, así como en las submuestras masculina y femenina. Por otro lado, el modelo de cuatro factores se muestra estable en la adolescencia, juventud y edad adulta, pero no así en el grupo de personas mayores de 55 años.

Palabras clave: autoconcepto físico, autopercepción, dimensionalidad.

Ever since the 1990's and to this day, the field of Psychology has paid considerable attention to the notion of physical self-concept (Fox, 1997; Goñi, 2008). This is a direct result of the widely accepted, hierarchical and multidimensional view of self-concept that began in the 70's, and particularly, what Shavelson, Hubner and Stanton (1976) proposed. Physical self-concept, those authors believe, is one of the main domains of overall self-concept, together with the academic, personal and social domains. According to an early outline of this concept, it includes at least two sub-domains: physical ability and physical appearance (Marsh & Shavelson, 1985). Nowadays, there is general agreement that physical self-perceptions include many more than those two sub-domains and several new models have been created (Esnaola, Goñi, & Madariaga, 2008; Infante & Goñi, 2009); they are described below.

Two such models stand out in particular. The first, by Marsh, Richards, Johnson, Roche and Redmayne (1994), was the basis for creating the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (P-SDQ), which consists of nine components: strength, body fat, physical activity, endurance, sports competence, coordination, health, appearance and flexibility. The other, on which Fox and Corbin's (1989) Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) is based, conceives of four sub-domains of physical self-concept: sport competence, attractive body, strength and physical condition. …

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