Date of Award


Degree Name

School Psychology


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Elizabeth Boyles

Second Advisor

Peter Prewitt

Third Advisor

Beverly Farrow


Obesity is a growing health problem affecting children in the United States. The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past 10 years across virtually all populations and age groups. Recent data suggest that 15 percent of U.S. children are severely overweight or obese (National Center for Health Statistics, 2002) . Obese children are at risk for significant health problems, but also face many psychological and social consequences, including low self-esteem. Children who are obese face an increased risk of emotional problems lasting well into adulthood. Factors such as peer rejection, weight-related teasing, and internalized social standards play a major role in diminishing an obese child’s self-esteem. Self-esteem affects numerous aspects of health and behavior including social adjustment, activity engagement, goal direction, and the presence of anxiety. Furthermore, low self-esteem has been associated with depression and suicidal ideas (Harter & Marold, 1994). The purpose of this study is to examine the effect obesity has on children’s self-esteem, as rated by the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale, 2nd Edition.


Obesity in children


Child psychology


Self-esteem in children