Perceptions of self in 3-5-year-old children: a preliminary investigation into the early emergence of body dissatisfaction.

Department of Psychology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
Body image (Impact Factor: 2.19). 06/2011; 8(3):287-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.04.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The main objective of this study was to investigate normal weight and overweight preschool children's ability to understand conceptualizations of body image and their association with parental perceptions of their child's body. One hundred and forty-four children aged 3-5 years were interviewed (68 girls and 76 boys) regarding their body image and their satisfaction with such. Parents completed a questionnaire that probed socio-demographic characteristics as well as their perceptions of their child's body image. Results showed that (1) children's misperceptions corresponded to those held by their parents. Specifically, overweight children and their parents underestimated the child's body size. (2) Gender differences in body dissatisfaction were consistently observed and were similar to those seen in adolescents and adults. It was determined that children's inaccuracies were not a result of developmental limits, that is, the participants' inability to understand the concepts measured.

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May 20, 2014