Iranian Adolescent Girls' Self-Concepts of Eating Behaviors: A Qualitative Study

Authors

1 Associate Professor and Head of Health Education and Promotion, Research Center for Health Sciences, Institute of Health. Department of Health Promotion, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 PhD Candidate of Health Education and Promotion, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Department Of Health Education and Promotion, School Of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

3 Professor of Health Education and Promotion and Head of the Elderly Health Research Center, Department of the Elderly Health, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

4 Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Head of the Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

5 Professor of Biostatistics and Head of the Research Center of Prevention and Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Disease, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

Abstract

Background: Self-concept plays an important role in understanding behavioral patterns. The purpose of the present study was to explain Iranian adolescent girls' self-concepts of eating behaviors.
Materials and Methods: In this qualitative study, conventional content analysis was used and participants were selected through purposeful sampling. This study was conducted in the government girls’ schools of Shiraz City, Iran from October 2018 to March 2019. Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews with 42 girl students. Interviews were recorded with the audio recorder and continued until data saturation was achieved so that no new conceptual information was obtained after 35 interviews, while individual interviews were conducted with seven other individuals to ensure data saturation, and no additional conceptual information emerged from the seven interviews. The data were analyzed according to the conventional content analysis approach.
Results: From the analysis of the data, six categories for adolescent girls' self-concepts were drawn including: (1) physical self-concept, (2) social self-concept, (3) academic self-concept, (4) self-satisfaction, (5) self-confidence, and (6) self-esteem. These self-concepts included subcategories of effective eating behaviors on appearance, physical energy status, morals, academic performance, satisfaction and happiness, self-confidence and popularity and respect.
Conclusion: Adolescent girls' self-concepts of eating behaviors encompass a wide range of dimensions such as physical, social, academic, self-satisfaction, self-confidence and self-esteem, and their identification is one of the determinants of the development of intention to adopt healthy eating behaviors.

Keywords