As society continues to advocate an unrealistically thin body shape, awareness and internalization of appearance and its consequent impact upon self-esteem has become increasingly of concern, particularly in adolescent girls. School gender environment may influence these factors, but remains largely unexplored. This study aimed to assess differences between two different school environments in appearance attitudes, social influences and associations with self-esteem. Two hundred and twelve girls (M = 13.8 years) attending either a single-sex or co-educational school completed measures on socio-cultural attitudes towards appearance, social support and self-esteem. Though marginal differences between school environments were found, significantly higher internalization was reported among girls at the co-educational school. School environment moderated relations between internalization and self-esteem such that girls in co-educational environments had poorer self-esteem stemming from greater internalization. Thus, in a single-sex school environment, protective factors may attenuate negative associations between socio-cultural attitudes towards appearance and self-esteem in adolescent girls.
Bibliographical noteDate of Acceptance: 23/10/2015
- School environment
- Adolescent girls
- Internalization of appearance ideals