Negative body image in adolescence can threaten the mental health of future adults, according to findings published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Too fat, too thin, not beautiful enough, not muscular enough, too many pimples, adolescence is often a time of change. The developing and changing body often involves many complexes during this pivotal transition. A negative body image during adolescence could threaten mental health later, according to a new study revealed by CNN. Indeed, young people who are dissatisfied with their physique are more likely to suffer from depression in adulthood. The findings of this study were published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Few children suffer from depression, but the likelihood increases as children get older. For this study, the 14-year-old participants measured, on a five-point scale (from very satisfied to extremely dissatisfied), their satisfaction with their weight, their figure, their build or their breasts, their belly, their size, their thighs, buttocks, hips, legs, face and hair. Four years later, at the age of 18, a nurse then assessed their symptoms of depression and their level of severity.

Different goals

 Result? Teenage girls and boys were moderately satisfied with their body in general, but girls tended to be more dissatisfied than boys. “Women tended to be dissatisfied with their thighs, stomachs and weight, and satisfied with their hair and hips. For men, the body parts associated with more dissatisfaction were body build, stomach and hips, ”the authors noted. Weight and figure were the most common areas of distress. Indeed, at 14 years old, 32% of girls and 14% of boys were dissatisfied with their weight. Over 27% of girls and almost 14% of boys were not satisfied with their figure. Girls who were unhappy with their bodies at 14 had mild, moderate, and severe depressive episodes by 18, while boys had mild and / or moderate depressive episodes. 

“Body image encompasses feelings and reflections on many aspects of appearance beyond weight,” said study lead author Anna Bornioli, senior researcher in transport and urban economics at the Erasmus Center. for the urban, port and transport economy of Erasmus University Rotterdam. “In the past, research focused almost exclusively on being thin. When boys and men didn't want to be slimmer, it was assumed that they didn't have body image issues. We now know that boys and men generally don't want to be thinner but they want to be more muscular, ”said Mike C. Parent, psychologist and assistant professor in the department of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Before concluding: “The present study addresses this problem somewhat by examining satisfaction with body parts, not the desire to be thinner. We can see vestiges of the history of research on l Body image emphasizing the experience of girls and women in the elements of body satisfaction (eg, hips and thighs are mentioned, but not abdominals and pecs. "