Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 691-700

First online:

The Role of Appearance Schematicity in the Development of Adolescent Body Dissatisfaction

  • Duane HargreavesAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Flinders University
  • , Marika TiggemannAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Flinders University

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Although much is now known about the development of body image disturbance, relatively little is known about the role of cognitive processes. The aim of the present study was to examine longitudinally the role of appearance schemas as a predictor of body dissatisfaction change over 2 years among adolescent girls and boys. Participants were 54 Australian school students in Year 10 at Time 1 (M age = 15.1) who were assessed 2 years later when they were in Year 12 (Time 2). It was found that girls' body dissatisfaction worsened from Time 1 to Time 2 compared to boys, and that this change in girls' body dissatisfaction was related to initial appearance schematicity, but not to initial self-esteem. The results support the importance of cognitive processing models for understanding the development of body image disturbance.

appearance schemas self-schemas body dissatisfaction body image adolescence