Sex differences in the association of postural control with indirect measures of body representations

Katrin H. Schulleri, Leif Johannsen, Youssef Michel, Dongheui Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Besides anthropometric variables, high-order body representations have been hypothesised to influence postural control. However, this has not been directly tested before. Moreover, some studies indicate that sex moderates the relationship of anthropometry and postural control. Therefore, as a proof of concept we investigated the association of body representations with postural control as well as the influence of participants’ sex/gender. Body image measures were assessed with a figural drawing task. Body schema was tested by a covert and an overt task. Body sway was measured during normal bipedal quiet standing with eyes closed (with/without neck extended). Statistical analysis consisted of hierarchical multiple linear regressions with the following regression steps: (1) sensory condition, (2) sex/gender, (3) age, (4) anthropometry, (5) body schema, (6) body image, (7) sex/gender-interactions. Across 36 subjects (19 females), body schema was significantly associated with body sway variability and open-loop control, in addition to commonly known influencing factors, such as sensory condition, gender, age and anthropometry. While in females, also body image dissatisfaction substantially was associated with postural control, this was not the case in males. Sex differences and possible causes why high-order body representations may influence concurrent sensorimotor control of body sway are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4556
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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