Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 361–379

Body image satisfaction, dieting beliefs, and weight loss behaviors in adolescent girls and boys


  • Susan J. Paxton
    • La Trobe University
  • Eleanor H. Wertheim
    • La Trobe University
  • Kay Gibbons
    • Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • George I. Szmukler
    • Royal Melbourne Hospital
    • University of Melbourne
  • Lynne Hillier
    • La Trobe University
  • Janice L. Petrovich
    • La Trobe University

DOI: 10.1007/BF01537402

Cite this article as:
Paxton, S.J., Wertheim, E.H., Gibbons, K. et al. J Youth Adolescence (1991) 20: 361. doi:10.1007/BF01537402


Body image and weight loss beliefs and behaviors were assessed in 341 female and 221 male high school students. Estimates of body dissatisfaction varied depending on the measurement strategy used. Despite having similar weight distributions around the expected norm, girls were significantly more dissatisfied with their bodies than boys. Body Mass Index was positively related to body dissatisfaction in girls and boys, while higher exercise levels were related to higher body satisfaction in boys. Nearly two-thirds of girls and boys believed being thinner would have an impact on their lives, but the majority of girls believed this would be positive while the majority of boys believed this would be negative. Thirteen percent of female subjects reported using one or more extreme weight loss behavior at least weekly. Beliefs regarding the effectiveness of different weight loss measures were assessed. Weight loss behaviors in this Australian sample appear similar to comparable U.S. samples.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991