Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Male and Female First Year College Students

This study examined the relationships among self-esteem, body image, and health-related behaviors of 267 female and 156 male first-year college students. Data were collected in 23 classrooms. Instruments included a demographic sheet, the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale, the Weight and Appearance Visual Analogue Scales, the Contour Drawing Rating Scale, the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, and a measure of physical fitness/health-related behaviors. Self-esteem was consistently related to body image dissatisfaction for women, and women consistently exhibited a more negative body image than did men. Even when both men and women were consistent exercisers, the women had poorer body image. Finally, for both men and women, more positive physical fitness/health-related behaviors were positively related to self-esteem and body image.