Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Demaray, Michelle K.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Psychology; Developmental psychology; Educational psychology


Little research has examined the how body esteem impacts the educational environment for students, yet there are copious amounts of research indicating that body image and body esteem is a defining experience for individuals, particularly adolescents. The current study collected data in a sample of 669 middle school students from northern Illinois using self-report measures to examine the relation between body esteem and school engagement, with the prediction that victimization (both global and appearance-based) plays a mediating role in this relationship. The associations between these variables were explored, as well as the role gender plays in these relations. Results indicated body esteem was a predictor for all variables, including victimization, appearance-based victimization, behavioral engagement, and emotional engagement. These associations only differed by gender for victimization. Victimization was tested as a mediator between body esteem and both types of engagement for girls and boys. Victimization partially mediated this association for behavioral engagement in girls but not boys, indicating that body esteem is related to school engagement through other means than experiences of victimization. Implications were drawn from the study results to inform future research and school practices, including suggestions that the current findings provide preliminary evidence for not only attempting to reduce victimization in schools, but also supporting the development of body image in adolescent girls and boys to help support their behaviors, emotions, and practices related to school engagement.


Advisors: Michelle Demaray.||Committee members: Christine Malecki; Julia Ogg.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


v, 132 pages




Northern Illinois University

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