Does body dissatisfaction predict mental health outcomes in a sample of predominantly Hispanic college students?

Paulina A. Ganem, Hendrik de Heer, Osvaldo F. Morera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


While body dissatisfaction research has focused primarily with non-Hispanic White populations, it may also adversely affect minority mental health. The purpose of this study is to assess the association between body dissatisfaction and measures of mental health in a predominantly Hispanic college sample. One hundred seventy-four college students at a Hispanic-serving university in the Southwest United States completed self-report measures of life satisfaction, self-esteem, depression, psychological well-being, neuroticism and body image. Males comprised 38.3% of the sample. While the single greatest predictor of mental health was neuroticism (explaining between 22% and 44% of the incremental variance in the outcome measures), the body dissatisfaction by sex interaction explained additional variability in three of the four mental health outcome measures, such that increased body dissatisfaction adversely impacted mental health among women. Increased body dissatisfaction was predictive of poor general psychological well-being for both sexes. Men and individuals with lower body mass indices had better mental health outcomes. While neuroticism was clearly the strongest predictor of mental health, body dissatisfaction was related to poor mental health among women in a predominantly Hispanic sample of college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-561
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Body image
  • Mental health
  • Neuroticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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