Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 63, Issue 9, pp 672-681

First online:

Body Image and Self-Esteem Across Age and Gender: A Short-Term Longitudinal Study

  • David MellorAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin UniversitySchool of Psychology, Deakin University Email author 
  • , Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Marita P. McCabeAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Lina A. RicciardelliAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University

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This study examined the relationship between body image and self-esteem across time and age for men and women. Participants were 150 men and 239 women aged between 20 and 86 years (M = 59.73), recruited from the general population in Australia. They completed a questionnaire assessing self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, body importance, and a range of other domains of life satisfaction at baseline and 2 years later. Cross-sectionally, we found that higher self-esteem was associated with lower body dissatisfaction, but there was no consistent relationship between these variables across time for age and gender. Women were more dissatisfied with their bodies than men; yet, men placed greater importance on their appearance than women, and also reported high levels of body dissatisfaction.


Body dissatisfaction Self-esteem Gender Age Longitudinal design