Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 9, pp 663-675

First online:

Body Dissatisfaction, Dating, and Importance of Thinness to Attractiveness in Adolescent Girls

  • Susan J. PaxtonAffiliated withLa Trobe UniversitySchool of Psychological Science, La Trobe University Email author 
  • , Melinda NorrisAffiliated withUniversity of Melbourne
  • , Eleanor H. WertheimAffiliated withLa Trobe University
  • , Sarah J. DurkinAffiliated withLa Trobe University
  • , Jenny AndersonAffiliated withUniversity of Melbourne

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The primary aim of this study was to test a multivariate model of predictors of body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls in which psychological variables, beliefs about the importance of popularity with boys, and beliefs about the importance of thinness to attractiveness and dating were included. We also aimed to explore boys' perceptions of the importance of thinness for attractiveness. Grade 10 girls (n = 573) and boys (n = 145) completed questionnaires. Path analysis provided partial support for the model proposed. Dating did not predict body dissatisfaction, but a relationship between importance of popularity with boys and body dissatisfaction was fully mediated by the belief that boys see thinness as important in rating girls' attractiveness. Although girls underestimated the body size that is attractive to boys, over 85% of boys reported a girl's slimness influenced her attractiveness. Dating was not correlated with body mass index.

Key Words

dating thinness body dissatisfaction dieting adolescent girls and boys