Table of Contents

HK J Paediatr (New Series)
Vol 13. No. 1, 2008

HK J Paediatr (New Series) 2008;13:30-38

Original Article

Is Teenage Obesity Associated with Depression and Low Self-Esteem?: A Pilot Study

PWK Mok, WHS Wong, PWH Lee, LCK Low


Objectives: A pilot study to explore the impact of perceived and actual overweight on self-esteem and depression in Hong Kong teenagers. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study on 152 Chinese adolescents aged 12-16 was conducted in a secondary school in Hong Kong. Overweight was defined as a body mass index (BMI) above 90 percentile of age-adjusted BMI reference. The short form Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-13) and the Chinese version of Piers-Harris 2 Self-Concept Scale were used to measure depression and self-esteem respectively. Results: Our results showed that perceived overweight but not actual overweight female subjects had statistically significantly lower Piers-Harris score and higher depression score. Kruskal-Wallis test showed that depression was significantly more common in female teenagers who perceived themselves as being overweight but who were not actually overweight compared to those with normal BMI and body image. On the contrary, male teenagers who perceived themselves as thin were more at risk for lower Piers-Harris subscale scores. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that perceived body image has more detrimental impact on depression and self-esteem than actual body mass index in both male and female Hong Kong teenagers. This may reflect a probable influence from the mass media, advertisement, or prevailing societal values in over-promoting a slim body-image which may result in self-depreciating tendencies if female teenagers perceived themselves as being overweight. Health care professionals need to pay attention to body image perception rather than focusing solely on the physical build of teenagers.

目的:探討自我看作肥胖和真正超重的香港青少年對自我形象和抑鬱的影響。方法:一項在 152 名 12-16 歲的香港華裔青少年中學生的橫向性研究。超重定義為超出年齡調整後 BMI 的第 90 百份位。以簡化貝克抑鬱量表(Beck Depression Inventory/BDI-13)和中文版兒童自我意識量表(Piers-Harris 2 Self-Concept Scale)分別對抑鬱和自我形象作出量度。結果:方差分析( ANOVA)顯示自我看作肥胖的女性的自我形象評分較低和抑鬱評分較高,但超重者的評分則無顯著差異。Kruskal-Wallis 檢驗顯示自我看作肥胖的女性比真正超重的女性更普遍地出現抑鬱。結論:我們的結果提出香港的青少年女性把自己看作肥胖這因素,比真正超重在心理上的影響更大。這可能反映傳媒、廣告及社會氛圍對瘦身過度渲染,導致那些把自己看作肥胖的青少年女性出現自貶。醫療專業人員不單要注重香港青少年的身體肥胖情況,更要注意他們的心理狀況。

Keyword : Adolescent; Obesity; Self-esteem; Depression



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