Body size attitudes and body image perception among preschool children and their parents: a preliminary study
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University of Social Science and Humanities, Katowice, Poland
University of Social Science and Humanities. Katowice, Poland
Submission date: 2016-07-05
Final revision date: 2016-08-22
Acceptance date: 2016-09-12
Publication date: 2016-12-05
Corresponding author
Katarzyna Kościcka   

University of Social Science and Humanities, Katowice, Poland, Wolności 272/3a, 41-800 Zabrze, Poland
Arch Psych Psych 2016;18(4):28-34
Aim of the study:
to assess the attitudes towards the body among children and their parents, and to analyse the predictors of attitudes towards the body in both groups.

Subject or material and methods:
The research sample:37 children from 3-7 years(M = 5.05; SD = 0.88)and 37 parents(Mage = 32.25; SD = 4.81).The Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire 4, the Child Figure Arrays, and the Contour Drawing Rating Scale were used.

75.68% of children chose the thin and average silhouettes for the most ideal body shape. The silhouette which children chose as the most undesirable was the children’s silhouette that indicated obesity (Nundesired_silhouette62.16%). We found the relationship between body dissatisfaction and thin ideal internalisation (r=0.627,p<0.001), muscular ideal internalisation (r=0.369,p<0.05), family pressure (r= 0.351, p<0.05), media pressure (r = 0.702, p<0.001), and peer pressure (r =0.428, p < 0.05) made parents wish to change their children’s’ body shape to change the body shape in parents. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression revealed that media pressure (β = 0.348, p < 0.05) and body dissatisfaction (β = 0.696, p < 0.01) among parents (F(4, 32) = 5.655; p < 0.01; R2adjusted = 0.205) were predictors of the ideal children’s silhouette. In addition, mediation analysis showed media pressure had mediated the relationship between parents’ body dissatisfaction and children’s ideal silhouette (F(2.34) = 5.66; p < 0.01).


Both children and their parents preferred the slim silhouette. . There is a high risk that parents can model negative attitudes towards the body in their children. Therefore this should be considered in psychoeducational prevention programs.

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