Socioemotional predictors of body esteem in adolescent males.

This study explores the relationship between self-silencing, sociocultural attitudes toward appearance and negative body esteem in a large community-based sample of male youth, to better understand the interrelationship among these socioemotional characteristics and their effects on body esteem. A cross-sectional study of 1,253 males in Grades 7 to 12 asked participants to complete self-report measures of body esteem, sociocultural attitudes toward appearance, and self-silencing as part of a larger study, and also took anthropometric measurements of weight and height. Results revealed that increased body mass index, greater engagement in self-silencing behaviors and higher levels of internalization of the masculine body ideal all contributed to poor body esteem in male youth. Findings from this study demonstrate that males, like females, are vulnerable to low body esteem when they rely on an externalized view of self-perception and allow themselves to take care of others needs before attending to their own, leaving little room for their voice to be heard. It was also found that greater endorsement of the mostly unattainable masculine beauty ideal as a personal standard and higher body mass index both contributed to lower body esteem, most likely influencing each other in various ways. Prevention efforts geared toward media literacy, promoting positive body image and fostering authenticity in one’s relationships may be helpful at reducing poor body esteem in male youth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)