Gender related differences in response to "in favor of myself" wellness program to enhance positive self & body image among adolescents.

Article English OPEN
Moria Golan ; Noa Hagay ; Snait Tamir
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 9, issue 3 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC3950257, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091778
  • Subject: Child and Adolescent Health Policy | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Research Article | Mental Health | Sexual and Gender Issues | Behavioral and Social Aspects of Health | Preventive Medicine | Sociology | Health Care Policy | Human Relations | Psychology | Personality | Developmental Psychology | Behavior | Public Health | Non-Clinical Medicine | Emotions | Social Research | Psychometrics | Medicine | Child Health | Q | R | Social Psychology | Science | Adjustment (Psychology)

BACKGROUND: Physical, neurological and psychological changes are often experienced differently by male and female adolescents. Positive self-esteem, emotional well-being, school achievements, and family connectedness are considered as protective factors against health-compromising behaviors. This study examines the gender differences in respect to the effect of a school-based interactive wellness program--"In Favor of Myself"--on self-image, body image, eating attitudes and behaviors of young adolescents. METHODS: Two hundred and ten adolescents (mean age 13.5) participated in the intervention group, 55% were girls and 45% boys. Program consisted of eight 90-minutes structured sessions integrated into a regular school coping skills curriculum. The program focused on self-esteem, self-image, body image, media literacy and cognitive dissonance. The overall impact of the program and the study protocol were previously published. RESULTS: Overall, there are gender related differences in respect to body image and self-image in young adolescents in response to "In Favor of Myself". Compared to boys, girls reported at baseline higher self-esteem, being more contingent by appearance, and their self-image was more influenced by popularity, appearance, interpersonal communication and admired people. Furthermore girls presented greater gap between current body figure and perceived ideal figure. Not only were girls more dissatisfied with their body, but they were more active in attempts to become and/or remain "thin". At program termination, gender × time effect was detected in reduction of self-worth contingent by others, change in importance given to achievements at schools, parents' perceptions, as well as the impact of comparisons to friends and family members on self-image. CONCLUSIONS: Girls exhibited more gains than boys from 'In Favor of Myself' which raise the questions about how effective would be the program when delivered in mixed gender groups vs. mono-gender groups.
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