Body Image Concerns Throughout the Lifespan

  • Jacalyn J. Robert-McCombEmail author
  • Marilyn Massey-Stokes


Due to the rising rates of eating disorders and obesity, increasingly more attention is being paid to body image and body image difficulties. Body dissatisfaction, which is ubiquitous among girls and women, can be defined by the difference between one’s perceived body size and ideal body, particularly with regard to the desire to be thin. Body dissatisfaction has become so commonplace that it has been described as “normative discontent.” It is also considered one of the most robust risk and maintenance factors for clinical eating disorders. A wide range of risk factors contribute to the development of body dissatisfaction, including biological and physical factors, sociocultural influences, and individual characteristics. In addition, females who place a strong emphasis on thinness and physical appearance and routinely engage in body comparison are especially vulnerable to experiencing body dissatisfaction. Body image problems and disordered eating behaviors know no boundaries; they impact females across age groups, ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic levels. Therefore, it is essential for health professionals to understand the development of body image difficulties and be knowledgeable about body image assessment techniques and effective prevention and intervention programs. Armed with this insight, health professionals will be in position to foster healthy body image and enhance quality of life among females across the lifespan.


Body image Body dissatisfaction Risk factors Assessment Theoretical foundations Prevention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacalyn J. Robert-McComb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marilyn Massey-Stokes
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports SciencesTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health StudiesTexas Woman’s UniversityDentonUSA

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