The present study examines the patterns of body dissatisfaction during adolescence in order to determine whether girls enter onto trajectories of body dissatisfaction that are associated with eating and depressive symptoms during adolescence and in young adulthood.
Body dissatisfaction was studied in 120 adolescent girls drawn from a normal population of students enrolled in private schools in a major metropolitan area. They were seen at three times over an 8-year period (mean ages = 14.3, 16.0, and 22.3).
Recurrent body dissatisfaction during adolescence was associated with earlier pubertal maturation and elevated depressive and eating symptoms in young adulthood compared with girls who maintained positive body images during adolescence. Concurrent body dissatisfaction was also a correlate of greater depressed affect and eating symptoms at the time these girls experienced body dissatisfaction.
Findings suggest that adolescent body dissatisfaction has consequences for affect in adulthood. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 31: 404–415, 2002.