Self-esteem and physical development in early adolescence: Pubertal timing and body image

J M Williams, Candace Evelyn Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Relations between self-esteem, pubertal timing, and body image were investigated with a representative sample of Scottish schoolgirls II (n = 1,012, (X) over bar = 11.53 years, SD = 0.32) and 13 (n = 799, (X) over bar = 13.53, SD = 0.32) years of age. Data were derived from the Health Behaviour in School Children: WHO Cross-National Survey, specifically the Scottish survey Among II-year-olds, early maturation and lower ratings of body image (body size and perceived appearance) were associated with lower reported levels of self-esteem. There also was evidence that body image mediated the relation of pubertal timing on self-esteem for this age group. Among 13-year-olds, reports of body size concerns and poorer perceived appearance were predictive of lower ratings of self-esteem, as was late maturation. In this case, there was no evidence of mediation. Results lend support to the contention that pubertal timing influences body image and self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of early adolescence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2000




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