Paper Title
Physical Self-Description: A Cross-Cultural Examination of College Students in America and Thailand

The purpose of this study was to examine cross-cultural differences of physical self-description between Thai and American college students. Participants were 575 college students randomly selected from Bangkok, Thailand and Southern California (267 Thai kinesiology/PE majors, 101 American Kinesiology/PE majors, and 207 American non-Kinesiology/PE majors). The Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ, Marsh, 1996) and a Thai-version of the PSDQ developed and validated for this study were used, using a 6-point true-false scale (i.e., 1-6 in ascending order of assessment as true) and consisting of 70 items; 8 items each for health and global esteem, and 6 items each for coordination, action, body fat, sport, global physical, appearance, strength, flexibility, and endurance were completed by American and Thai students, respectively. Non-Kinesiology American majors were included in this study to further examine the effects of physical activity on physical self-concept, compared to Kinesiology majors in America and Thailand. Results found that there were significant group differences (i.e., American Kinesiology/PE and non-kinesiology majors, and Thai kinesiology majors) on all variables, except flexibility. American Kinesiology/PE majors showed a higher physical self-concept than each other group on health, coordination, action, body fat, sport, global physical, appearance, strength, endurance, and global esteem. Among American students, majors showed higher scores on all variables than non-majors. This result may reflect Kinesiology/PE majors usually spend more time on physical activity and sports training and tend to have better fitness and skill-oriented self-concept than non-Kinesiology/PE majors. Post Hoc tests indicated that the non-Kinesiology American group showed a higher score of physical self-concept on health, coordination, sport, appearance, and global esteem, compared to the Thai Kinesiology group. As Marsh (2002) proposed, self-concept is influenced substantially by the ability levels of others in the immediate context in addition to one’s own ability level. The results of the study may be partially explained in socio-cultural terms, with pressure to be thin more extreme in Thailand than in America. In addition, as McFarland and Buehler (1995) found, students from collectivists countries tend to value and experience significantly smaller self-concept than students from individualistic countries.