Self esteem refers to how well people feel about themselves. Body esteem is part of this. The study of body self esteem is popular among psychology students. There is a lot of attention for the role of the media on body esteem (in particular for women). For example, it is often argued that the media constantly shows beautiful people with body features barely anyone has. This makes people feel less confident about their own bodies. This can also be a causal factor in eating disorders, which are more common in adolescent girls and women than in boys/men.

There are many youtube videos about this topic, such as this one or this one, and credits for the latter video to Mental Fitness, Inc..

The Body Esteem Scale by Franzoi and Shields (1984) is a popular scale. It has 35 items (such as "scent" or "nose") that need to be rated on a 5 point scale, ranging from strong negative feelings to strong positive feelings.

Subscale male Possible score range Average score in men

Physical attractiveness



Upper body strength



Physical condition



Subscale female Possible score range Average score in women

Sexual attractiveness



Weight concern



Physical condition



The number and items for men and women on each subscale differ for men and women and cannot be compared! Not all items are relevant for each gender. For example, body scent only plays a role in the women’s scale sexual attractiveness. Thus, if you use the test only for one gender, you can remove some items.

Run the demo

It seems that BES can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (References).


This is a simple scale question. Importantly, the scores are calculated differently for men and women. That is why there is a gender-specific question at the beginning (not part of the official test, but necessary for the online implementation).

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: feelings
- strong negative feelings
- moderate negative feelings
- no feeling one way or the other
- moderate positive feelings
- strong positive feelings

l: gender
t: radio
q: Are you a man or a woman?
- Man
- Woman

l: bes
t: scale feelings
o: width 20%
q: On this page are listed a number of body parts and functions.<br>
Please read each item and indicate how you feel about this part or function of your own body using the following scale.<br>
The scale ranges from <i>I have strong negative feelings</i> to <i>I have strong positive feelings</i>.<br><br>
<b>I have ...</b>
- body scent
- appetite
- nose
- physical stamina
- reflexes
- lips
- muscular strength
- waist
- energy level
- thighs
- ears
- biceps
- chin
- body build
- physical coordination
- buttocks
- agility
- width of shoulders
- arms
- chest or breasts
- appearance of eyes
- cheeks/cheekbones
- hips
- legs
- figure or physique
- sex drive
- feet
- sex organs
- appearance of stomach
- health
- sex activities
- body hair
- physical condition
- face
- weight

l: men_physical_attractiveness
t: set
- sum $bes.3 $bes.6 $bes.11 $bes.13 $bes.16 $bes.21 $bes.22 $bes.23 $bes.27 $bes.28 $bes.34

l: men_upper_body_strength
t: set
- sum $bes.7 $bes.12 $bes.14 $bes.15 $bes.18 $bes.19 $bes.20 $bes.25 $bes.26

l: men_physical_condition
t: set
- sum $bes.2 $bes.4 $bes.5 $bes.8 $bes.9 $bes.10 $bes.15 $bes.17 $bes.25 $bes.29 $bes.30 $bes.33 $bes.35

l: women_sexual_attractiveness
t: set
- sum $bes.1 $bes.3 $bes.6 $bes.11 $bes.13 $bes.20 $bes.21 $bes.22 $bes.26 $bes.28 $bes.31 $bes.32 $bes.34

l: women_weight_concern
t: set
- sum $bes.2 $bes.8 $bes.10 $bes.14 $bes.16 $bes.23 $bes.24 $bes.25 $bes.29 $bes.35

l: women_physical_condition
t: set
- sum $bes.4 $bes.5 $bes.7 $bes.9 $bes.12 $bes.15 $bes.17 $bes.30 $bes.33

t: jump
- if $gender == 1 then goto feedback_men
- if $gender == 2 then goto feedback_women

l: feedback_men
t: info
q: Your scores are:
<li>Physical attractiveness: {$men_physical_attractiveness}
<li>Upper body strength: {$men_physical_attractiveness}
<li>Physical condition: {$men_physical_condition}

j: final

l: feedback_women
t: info
q: Your scores are:
<li>Sexual attractiveness: {$women_sexual_attractiveness}
<li>Weight concern: {$women_weight_concern}
<li>Physical condition: {$women_physical_condition}

l: final
t: info
q: You are now done...


  • Franzoi, S.L. (1994). Further evidence of the reliability and validity of the body esteem scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50, 237-239.

  • Franzoi, S.L. & Shields, S.A. (1984). The Body-Esteem Scale: Multidimensional structure and sex differences in a college population. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 173-178.