Is there a reason to assume that there is a simple mathematical formula that connects the two variable? If not, the you can simply say that there is a moderate correlation and that increasing values of self esteem are associated with smaller shape sums. Then draw a graph with a locally weighted regression line through it to show the trend.

If you really feel the need to have a mathematical regression line, then the stretching out of the points towards the top of the graph indicates that an exponential trend line might work.

I very much appreciate the replies. To answer your question; no, there's no reason to assume a simple mathematical formula. But we've been asked to note the presence of linearity (or otherwise) on the scatter plot. I'm having a hard time assessing whether or not the data on this scatter plot could be considered linear; that is, if the first graph with the straight line on it is viable. Maybe it's just about linear, but it's borderline, and there are a bunch of outliers.

So to my next question: here's the result section of my paper. Does this look more or less defensible, especially if I go with the linear scatter plot?

Thank you,

Aufbau83

*Results*:

221 individuals recruited by opportunity sampling were surveyed about their level of self-esteem (M = 3.83, SD = 0.7) and their level of current and recent Concern about Body Shape (M = 20.6, SD = 9.3). A scatterplot (Figure 3) indicated the presence of a monotonic, but not a conclusively linear relationship between the two variables. Furthermore, histograms (Figures 4 and 5) indicated a non-normal distribution of data for both variables, which was confirmed by standardized skewness coefficients (self-esteem = -2.3; body shape = 5.6 [normal range = -1.96 to +1.96]), and by a Shapiro-Wilk test (Self-esteem: W(221) = 0.98, p = .002 ; CABS: W(221) = 0.93, p = 0.00). Due to the abnormal distribution of data and the lack of a definitively linear correlation, it was decided to perform a nonparametric procedure, the Spearman’s rank order correlation coefficient. This confirmed a moderate negative correlation between self-esteem and CABS (Rs = –0.4, p < .05). The null hypothesis can thus be rejected, and the alternative hypothesis accepted.