The primary aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in the relationship between muscular strength, body composition, and physical self-perception in adolescents. Participants (n = 106, age 15.0 ± 0.7 years, 51% boys) completed the following assessments: height and weight, bio-electrical impedance analysis (body fat %), muscular strength (1RM bench press and leg press), and the Children's Physical Self-Perception Profile. Bivariate correlations were examined and mediation analysis was used to explore if physical self-perception sub-domains mediated the relationship between muscular strength/adiposity and overall physical self-worth. Among boys, physical self-worth was associated with absolute total strength (r = 0.36, p < 0.01), but not with body fat % (r = −0.11, p = 0.44), or relative total strength (r = 0.21, p = 0.13). In adolescent girls, physical self-worth was associated with body fat % (r = −0.42, p < 0.01), relative total strength (r = 0.40, p < 0.01) but not absolute total strength (r = 0.07, p = 0.62). In boys, perceived physical strength mediated the relationship between absolute muscular strength and physical self-worth. Relative muscular strength was not associated with perceived strength (p > 0.05) in girls and the test of the mediated effect was non-significant (p > 0.05). Perceived body attractiveness was found to mediate the relationship between body fat % and physical self-worth among boys and girls. Physical self-worth is associated with different components of health-related fitness in adolescent girls and boys. Mediation analysis can be used to provide insights into the complex interrelationships between variables.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Vol. 14, Issue 3, p. 216-221