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Perceived Physical Appearance: Assessing Measurement Equivalence in Black, Latino, and White Adolescents

  • Author(s): Epperson, AE
  • Depaoli, S
  • Song, AV
  • Wallander, JL
  • Elliott, MN
  • Cuccaro, P
  • Emery, ST
  • Schuster, M
  • et al.
Abstract

This aim of this study was to examine whether the construct of physical appearance perception differed among the three largest racial/ethnic groups in the United States using an adolescent sample.Black (46%), Latino (31%), and White (23%) adolescents in Grade 10 from the Healthy Passages study ( N  = 4,005) completed the Harter's Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents-Physical Appearance Scale (SPPA-PA) as a measure of physical appearance perception.Overall, Black adolescents had a more positive self-perception of their physical appearance than Latino and White adolescents. However, further analysis using measurement invariance testing revealed that the construct of physical appearance perception, as measured by SPPA-PA, was not comparable across the three racial/ethnic groups in both males and females.These results suggest that observed differences may not reflect true differences in perceptions of physical appearance. Measures that are equivalent across racial/ethnic groups should be developed to ensure more precise measurement and understanding.

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