Weight, shape, and muscularity concerns in male and female adolescents: Predictors of change and influences on eating concern




The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of age and weight status on adolescents' body dissatisfaction and its change over 20 months in a gender-comparing design. The influence of body image concern on eating concern was also investigated.


In a prospective study, 675 male and female adolescents aged 12–16 were assessed using self-report questionnaires on weight, shape, muscularity, and eating concerns. Height and weight measurements were taken by trained personnel. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling.


Analyses of latent means revealed more pronounced weight/shape concern in females than males and more pronounced muscularity concern in males than females. Weight/shape concern increased in females over time, whereas muscularity concern remained stable in both genders. Baseline levels of weight/shape concern could be predicted by age and weight status in females and by weight status in males. The only predictor of change in weight/shape concern was weight status in males. Baseline levels of muscularity concern could be predicted by age in females and by weight status in males. Similar effects were found for changes in muscularity concern in both genders. Increases in weight/shape and muscularity concern were associated with more pronounced eating concern.


The results confirm gender differences in distinctive facets of body image concern and its prediction. The relevance of increase in body image concern in adolescents is underlined by its association with eating concern in both genders. Further explanatory variables for change in body dissatisfaction should be examined in future studies. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2017; 50:139–147)