Adolescents experience a key developmental process of identity formation and try to understand who they are and how they feel about themselves. While research has found religiosity to often predict increased body esteem for religious adults, little is known about the association between religiosity and body esteem for adolescents. Using an Identity Theory lens, the current cross-sectional study (n=1,693) examined the relationship between adolescent religious identity (religious salience and belief being a child of God) and body esteem, mediated by one's attachment to God. Three structural equation mediation models examined 1) overall relationships; 2) relationships by gender; and 3) relationships by religious affiliation. Results indicate that overall, attachment to God fully mediates the relationship between religious identity and body esteem. Gender differences and religious affiliation differences were generally not found. However, "Nones" differed from Latter-day Saints regarding the relationship between religious salience and body esteem with Latter-day Saints experiencing a stronger effect. Religious youth pastors, parents, and other adolescent mentors should be aware of the positive influence that religiosity can have on body esteem for youth who believe in God and help these youth get closer to God and strengthen their religious identities.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Gale, Megan, "Adolescent Religious Identity and Body Esteem" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 10001.
adolescence, identity, body esteem, religiosity, attachment to God