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Inter-relationship between self-perceived body image, self-esteem and depression: Is self-esteem a mediator? A cross-sectional study among young adults

Jayawardane M. H., Ali Jinnah, S.
Year: 2020 Volume: 01

Self-perceived body image (SPBI) is the key to experience personal value and worthiness of oneself and has a significant influence on young adults’ psychological functioning and well-being. Most researches on this area focused on adolescent girls. Therefore, this study sought to examine the mediation role of self-esteem with young adults’ SPBI and depression. If self-esteem is found to be mediated the poor body image and depression, then the treatment can be focused more on self-esteem. In this cross-sectional study, a sample of 186 young adults (age: 18- 30 years) responded to a battery of questionnaires, which measured demographic information, self-perceived body image (measured by Appearance Schemas Inventory-Revised ASI-R), self-esteem (measured by Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale RSES), and depression (measured by Beck’s Depression Inventory-II BDI-II). Data were analyzed using Spearman’s correlation, multiple regression analyses, and simple mediation analyses. Self-esteem was tested as a mediator between SPBI and depression. Results revealed that SPBI is significantly correlated with both self-esteem (r=-.17, p<.05) and depression (r=-.17, p<.05). Self-esteem is also negatively correlated with depression (r=-.57, p<.001). Simple mediation analysis was conducted using self-evaluative salience (SES), and motivational salience (MS), subscales of appearance schema inventory-revised (ASI-R), and results indicated that the relationship between SES and depression was fully mediated through self-esteem, whereas MS was not significant to self-esteem nor depression. There was a significant gender difference in SPBI (p<.001). Self-esteem is recommended as a screening tool for young adults’ body satisfaction and psychological well-being. Therefore, the findings of this study indicate that early attention to self-esteem will be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of depression and body dissatisfaction in young adults.

Keywords
Self-perceived body image , self-esteem , depression , young adults , cross-sectional study , Sri Lanka

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