Current research suggests that 36% of American women are considered overweight. Women who are overweight by definition are at risk for major health problems as well as altered levels of self-esteem. A correlational design was utilized to examine the following null hypothesis: There is no relationship between body weight and levels of self-esteem in overweight women. Nola Pender's Health Promotion Model was the theoretical framework used to guide this study. The sample consisted of 42 women who were overweight by definition. Levels of self-esteem were ascertained using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. To obtain demographic data, the Goodson Demographic Survey was utilized. Data were retrieved through multiple-choice and open-ended questionnaires that were handed out at two urban support groups for overweight individuals. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics for demographic data and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Pearson r correlations were used to answer the research hypothesis. Although no significant relationship emerged between body weight and levels of self-esteem, the researcher discovered additional findings that will impact future research. Women who reported early onset of excess body i i i weight had larger body mass indexes and lower self-esteem as compared to those who reported adult onset of excess body weight. Among the sample, 45.24% revealed chronic health problems. In relation to self-esteem, the researcher discovered those subjects with negative self­ esteem had a larger body mass index than those subjects with positive self-esteem. Based on the findings from the study, several nursing practice recommendations were made. The nurse should perform routine assessments of levels of self-esteem among individuals and educate overweight individuals and families regarding the problems and issues that overweight individuals experience. Recommendations for future research include replication of the study using a more sensitive tool to assess self-esteem and investigation of perceptions of normal weight women concerning body image and self-esteem.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Lynn Chilton

Second Advisor

Melinda Rush

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons