This study aimed to investigate Chinese children's perceptions of self-competence and the coping strategies based on gender and weight status using the Terror Management Theory. A total of 331 Chinese children completed body mass index (BMI), Self-Perception Profile for Children, and Schoolagers' Coping Strategies Inventory. Mothers completed demographic information and the Family Assessment Device. Results indicated that better behavioral conduct competence contributed to better global self-worth in boys; in girls, better behavioral conduct competence and physical appearance competence contributed to better global self-worth. Higher BMI was related to lower athletic competency in boys and lower social competence in girls. Eating and drinking were reported as one of the most frequently used coping strategies by children, but the children felt that this strategy was not effective. Results of this study suggest that culture plays an important role in children's perceived self-competence and coping strategies. Health care providers and educators should incorporate assessment of self-competence and coping strategies into patient care and education.
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