Factorial Equivalence and Validation of three Versions of the Body Shape Questionnaire

The Open Psychology Journal 22 July 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18743501-v15-e2206150



Body image refers to a person’s perceptions, thoughts, or feelings about their own body, which affect their psychological health considerably, particularly their body shape dissatisfaction. Body image dissatisfaction was observed to be highly correlated with eating disorders, with psychological functioning, and with quality of life. Such dissatisfaction has grown worldwide, especially among young people, which has increased psychological interest in its assessment and studying.


One commonly used scale to study and assess body shape dissatisfaction is the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ) by Cooper et al. This study aimed to compare the three widely used versions of the BSQ (the BSQ-34, BSQ-14, and BSQ-8C) in terms of validity, reliability, and usability and then to recommend the most appropriate version. The study also aimed to cross-validate the scales to identify their factor structure and psychometric properties.


In total, 402, 326, and 373 students from a public university in the United Arab Emirates responded to the BSQ-34, BSQ-14, and BSQ-8C, respectively. The three scales were evaluated through several statistical procedures and tests, including reliability and exploratory factor analysis. The convergent validity and the discriminant validity of the scales were assessed by correlating them with appropriate scales.


The three scales demonstrated high internal reliability. The results indicated the existence of a three-factor solution for the BSQ-34. The BSQ-14 produced one factor that explained more than 60% of the variance. As for the BSQ-8C, one factor which explained 55.10% of the variance was extracted. While the results showed that the three BSQ scales had high and acceptable levels of convergent validity, the discriminant validity showed that the BSQ-14 is better than the other two scales.


The findings confirmed the superiority of the version BSQ-14 over the other two versions in terms of their psychometric properties. With 14 items, the scale is not as lengthy as the BSQ-34, which requires more time and effort, nor is it as short as the BSQ-8C, which may exclude some aspects of the construct. Thus, the study recommends using the BSQ-14 to assess body dissatisfaction among young participants.

Keywords: Body shape questionnaire, Body shape, Body image, Body dissatisfaction, Psychometric properties, Demographic variables.
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