Relationship between body image and socio-economic status in South African adolescents: PAHL-Study

  • Stanisław H Czyz
  • Mariëtte Swanepoel
  • Sarah J Moss
  • Makama A Monyeki
Keywords: Body image, Adolescents, Socio-economic status.


The aim of this study was to determine the body image (BI) and its relationship with socio-economic status  (SES) among adolescents. The 15-year-old adolescents (N=287), consisting of 111 boys and 176 girls, were  grouped according to SES. They completed the Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire (BIQ) to assess any  discrepancy between ideal and perceived body image on a 4-point Likert-type scale. Cross products for each question were calculated, as well as a mean summarised body-image value for the BIQ. No significant   differences for BIQ were found between boys and girls, but significant differences were found for body image
between high and low SES with respect to weight, muscle tone, chest size and body proportion. A more  pronounced discrepancy in body image was noted for higher SES than for low SES. In conclusion, adolescents of low and high SES perceived their body image significantly differently with regard to physical appearance. Future interventions aimed to facilitate changes in body composition should take
cognisance of these perceptions.

Key words: Body image; Adolescents; Socio-economic status.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069