THE INFLUENCE OF PREPREGNANCY WEIGHT STATUS ON THE BIOPSYCHOSOICAL DETERMINANTS OF BODY IMAGE SATISFACTION IN PREGNANCY

Open Access
Author:
Rauff, Erica
Graduate Program:
Kinesiology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 19, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Danielle Symons Downs, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • body image satisfaction
  • exercise behavior
  • gestational weight gain
  • depression
  • pregnancy
Abstract:
Background. Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life that is accompanied by substantial changes in body shape and weight that are likely to impact her body image satisfaction. However, there is a paucity of research examining body image satisfaction in pregnancy with a scant understanding of the biological, psychological, and social influences that may impact women’s body image throughout pregnancy. Study Purpose. The primary purpose of this thesis was to prospectively examine the moderating influence of prepregnancy weight status on the biopsychosocial determinants of body image satisfaction in pregnancy. The secondary purpose was to assess if first trimester body image satisfaction mediated the relationship between first trimester depressive symptoms, gestational weight gain, and exercise behavior and its motivational determinants and second trimester body image satisfaction. Hypotheses. It was hypothesized that group differences would be observed in both the first and second trimesters such that normal weight women would have better body image satisfaction, less depressive symptoms, less gestational weight gain, higher exercise behavior and motivational determinants for exercise than overweight/obese women. It was also hypothesized that first trimester body image satisfaction would mediate the relationship between first trimester depressive symptoms, gestational weight gain, and exercise behavior and second trimester body image satisfaction. Methods. A prospective study design was conducted in which 209 pregnant women completed measures of their body image satisfaction, depressive symptoms, gestational weight gain, exercise behavior and its motivational determinants, and demographics in the first and second trimesters. Women were classified as normal, overweight, and obese weight categories based on their prepregnancy weight status. Results. Normal weight women had significantly higher first trimester body image satisfaction compared to overweight and obese women and significantly higher second trimester body image satisfaction compared to obese women. Compared to overweight women, women of normal weight status also had a significantly greater increase in body image satisfaction from first to second trimester. Also, first trimester body image satisfaction was found to mediate the relationship between first trimester depression and second trimester body image satisfaction. First trimester body image satisfaction was also found to partially mediate the relationship between first trimester gestational weight gain and second trimester body image satisfaction. Conclusions. The preliminary findings demonstrate that body image satisfaction is experienced differently based on a woman’s prepregnancy weight status. They also illustrate that explaining body image satisfaction in pregnancy may be better understood by examining trimester specific changes in body image satisfaction as well as the influences of depressive symptoms and gestational weight gain in pregnancy. Finally, a biopsychosocial approach may provide a conceptual framework for understanding and explaining body image satisfaction and its related biological, psychological, and social correlates.