Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hall, Kimberly Renee

Committee Member

Justice, Cheryl A.

Committee Member

Dooley, Katherine

Committee Member

Goldberg, Rebecca M.

Committee Member

Rodgers, John C., III

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


School Counseling

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations


The purpose of this dissertation study was to examine the impact of childhood obesity on levels of self-esteem, anxiety, social stress, interpersonal relationship satisfaction, and academic achievement on students in Grades 5, 6, and 7. Professional school counselors need to be aware of how childhood obesity impacts students and how they can help their students personally, socially, and academically. The present research study uses a comparative research design to determine the levels of self-esteem, anxiety, social stress, interpersonal relationship satisfaction, and academic performance among students in Grades in 5, 6, and 7 between two groups: (a) obese children and (b) non-obese children. Height and weight were obtained from each student and entered into a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. Students completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition and a demographic survey. Scores from the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition were obtained as well. Students were coded as obese or non-obese and scores from the two assessments were entered into SPSS. A multivariate analysis of variance found no statistically significant results for the overall model. However, self-esteem and interpersonal relationship satisfaction were statistically significant individually. Though there were no statistically significant differences between groups, the researcher found that the mean scores of dependent variables reflected differences between obese and non-obese groups. School counselors can use this information to utilize the American School Counselor National Model to build a program for these children. Responsive services such as individual counseling, group counseling, classroom guidance, and parent education workshops can all be applied throughout the schools. Research in the future should continue to focus on the mental health implications of childhood obesity. This study provided a new perspective for research on childhood obesity not only for school counselors, but all mental health professionals. By being aware of the possible risks associated with childhood obesity, school counselors can use early intervention and prevention strategies to make a difference not only with an obese child but also within the entire school.