Girls' recurrent and concurrent body dissatisfaction: Correlates and consequences over 8 years

Authors

  • Richard Ohring,

    1. Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Julia A. Graber,

    1. Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York
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    • Present address: Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 112250 Gainesville, FL 32611-2250

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York
    • Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W. 120th Street, New York, NY 10027
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  • The research reported here was based on a dissertation completed by the first author.

Abstract

Objective

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.

Method

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).

Results

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.

Discussion

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.

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