Body Perceptions, Weight Control Behavior, and Changes in Adolescents’ Psychological Well-Being Over Time: A Longitudinal Examination of Gender
- 688 Downloads
This study used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to explore gender differences in the relationship between body perceptions and behavior and changes in adolescents’ psychological well-being over a one-year time period. The sample included 12,814 adolescents (51% girls) aged 11–20 comprised of 68% Non-Hispanic White, 15% African American, 12% Hispanic, and 4% Asian. Perceptions of being larger or more developed generally decreased girls’ psychological well-being over time. Body perceptions and behavior did not significantly influence changes in boys’ psychological well-being over time. Non-Hispanic White girls were the most influenced and Non-Hispanic White boys were the least influenced by body perceptions and behavior. Perceived relative development influenced early adolescent girls, whereas perceptions of being overweight influenced middle to late adolescent girls. Additionally, trying to lose weight influenced middle adolescent boys and girls. These results imply that body perceptions and behavior disadvantage girls’ psychological well-being relative to boys during adolescence.
KeywordsGender Body perceptions Depression Self-esteem Psychological well-being
- Center for Disease Control. (2000a). 2 to 20 years: Boys, body mass index-for-age percentiles. Retrieved June 7, 2004, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/growthcharts/set1clinical/cj411023.pdf.
- Center for Disease Control. (2000b). 2 to 20 years: Girls, body mass index-for-age percentiles. Retrieved June 7, 2004, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/growthcharts/set1clinical/cj411024.pdf.
- Chantala, K., & Tabor, J. (1999). Strategies to perform a design-based analysis using the Add Health data. Retrieved October 24, 2002, from http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/files/weight1.pdf.
- Eder, D., Evans, C. C., & Parker, S. (1995). School talk: Gender and adolescent culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Freedman, R. (1986). Beauty bound. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company.Google Scholar
- Harris, K. M., Halpern, C. T., Entzel, P., Tabor, J., Bearman, P. S., & Udry, J. R. (2008). The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: Research design. Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design.
- Harter, S., Stocker, C., & Robinson, N. S. (1996). The perceived directionality of the link between approval and self-worth: The liabilities of looking glass self-orientation among young adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 6, 285–308.Google Scholar
- Kilbourne, J. (1994). Still killing us softly: Advertising and the obsession with thinness. In P. Fallon, M. A. Katzman, & S. C. Wooley (Eds.), Feminist perspectives on eating disorders (pp. 395–418). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Neumark-Sztainer, D., Paxton, S. J., Hannan, P. J., Haines, J., & Story, M. (2006). Does body satisfaction matter? Five-year longitudinal associations between body satisfaction and health behaviors in adolescent females and males. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 244–251.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Rosenfield, S. (1999). Gender and mental health: Do women have more psychopathology, men more, or both the same (and why)? In A. V. Horwitz & T. L. Scheid (Eds.), A handbook for the study of mental health: Social context, theories, and systems (pp. 348–360). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
- Wolf, N. (1991). The beauty myth: How images of beauty are used against women. New York: William Morrow and Company.Google Scholar