This study examined two related and confused body image constructs—overevaluation and body image dissatisfaction—and tested their distinctiveness by examining their longitudinal associations with changes in self-esteem and negative affect.
One hundred forty-five obese (mean BMI = 51.6, SD = 7.5) patients (16 men and 129 women) completed a battery of self-report measures prior to and six months after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Measures of body image (overevaluation of shape and weight, and body image dissatisfaction), self-esteem, and negative affect were assessed.
Overevaluation and body image dissatisfaction both improved substantially following surgery. Change in overevaluation was significantly correlated only with change in self-esteem (after controlling for negative affect). Whereas change in body image dissatisfaction was significantly correlated with changes in both self-esteem and negative affect; findings for partial correlations remained unchanged.
These findings demonstrate that evaluating oneself by shape and weight is related to, but not the same as, being dissatisfied about shape and weight. Given that overevaluation is less likely to be influenced by mood, it appears to be a more stable marker for disturbance in body image than body image dissatisfaction. This distinction has important implications for how clinicians and researchers assess these constructs. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006; 39:716–720