Silicon Valley Notebook


Kathryn L. Luna


This research examined youth agency and the micro-meso system environments (protective and risks) as they shaped adolescents’ body image. National data from 11,531 students (Grades 5-10) in the Health Behavior in School Aged Children survey (2009-2010) and commentaries from six education/health professionals were used. As predicted by the Iowa and Chicago Schools of Self Concept, parental figure protected youth against negative body image by shielding them against school bullying. But, the protection and risks associated with youth agency and the micro-meso systems were gendered and operated differently for male and female youth. Female negative body image models were more complex in the salience of protective and risk factors than male models. These findings added to the literature on adolescent health and endorsed the need for wrap-around role modeling and protection for adolescents.