Original Article

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 217-229

First online:

The Skinny on Body Dissatisfaction: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Girls and Boys

  • Sarah Kate BearmanAffiliated withUniversity of TexasJudge Baker Children's Center, Harvard Medical School Email author 
  • , Katherine PresnellAffiliated withSouthern Methodist University
  • , Erin MartinezAffiliated withUniversity of Texas
  • , Eric SticeAffiliated withUniversity of Texas

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The present study tested whether theoretically derived risk factors predicted increases in body dissatisfaction and whether gender moderated these relations with data from a longitudinal study of 428 adolescent girls and boys because few prospective studies have examined these aims, despite evidence that body dissatisfaction increases risk for various psychiatric disturbances. Body dissatisfaction showed significant increases for girls and significant decreases for boys during early adolescence. For both genders, parental support deficits, negative affectivity, and self-reported dietary restraint showed significant relations to future increases in body dissatisfaction. Ideal body internalization and body mass index did not demonstrate significant relations to future increases in body dissatisfaction; peer support deficits showed a marginal relation to this outcome. Gender did not moderate these relations, despite adequate power to detect interactive effects.


body dissatisfaction adolescence gender differences