Adolescence is a time of numerous physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. Adolescent girls often experience a decline in body-image and/or self-esteem which can negatively impact mental health. While programs exist that are designed to address these concerns, empirical support for these programs is minimal and has often failed to demonstrate significant findings. This author evaluated a community-based empowerment and dance program for adolescent girls to evaluate the impact of participation on self-esteem and body-image. Pre-test and post-test data was collected from 5 adolescent girls using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) and the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA). Data analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in overall body-image and weight satisfaction at post-test. Measures of self-esteem and two additional body-image subscales revealed moderate-to-large effect sizes; however, the results failed to have sufficient power due to the small sample size. Analysis of archival qualitative data, collected by the same program during two previous academic years, revealed overarching themes relating to social relationships, confidence, self-expression, body-image, self-esteem and enjoyment of the program, indicating that participants reported making gains in these areas. When considering the negative consequences associated with poor body-image and low self-esteem, programs that focus on improving self-esteem and body-image could have long-term implications for the well-being of numerous youth. These results suggest that further research should be conducted to substantiate these findings and build empirical support for similar community-based programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Self-esteem in adolescence; Teenage girls -- Mental health; Dance -- Psychological aspects

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Bryant-Davis, Thema;