Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Elizabeth I. Johnson

Committee Members

Priscilla Blanton, Carol A. Costello


To date there are no studies focusing on the relationship between subjective social status (SSS) and weight perceptions among young people. This study aims to fill this gap in current available literature by examining associations between youth’s family SSS and individual SSS with their gender, race, body mass index (BMI), and weight perceptions. Questionnaires and BMI data were collected from 1,171 youth participating in the 2008 Global Finals of Destination ImagiNation (DI) hosted by the University of Tennessee. Participants ranged in ages 11 to 18 years. Regression analyses indicated that gender, race and individual SSS were significant predictors of BMI. Gender was the only significant predictor of underweight perceptions, while gender, race, and individual SSS were predictors of overweight perceptions. Results for outcomes based on two grade levels, middle school and high school, are also discussed. Findings have implications of gender and racial differences for BMI and weight perception status. Lastly, individual SSS within the school community was a significant predictor of both BMI and overweight perception.

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