Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Changes in Body Dissatisfaction Relative to Gender and Age: The Modulating Character of BMI

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Changes in Body Dissatisfaction Relative to Gender and Age: The Modulating Character of BMI

Article excerpt

This study examines the level of body satisfaction in adolescents, and its association with age, sex and body mass index. A non-clinical group was made up of 935 adolescents (484 boys and 451 girls), aged between 10 and 18 years. The body image was assessed by the Body Dissatisfaction scale within the Eating Disorder Inventory (Garner, 1998, 2004) and by the indirect indicator Ideal Body Mass Index. The results showed that the Body Mass Index is an important covariable in the study of body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction mean values increased in the female sample. The males' values did not change throughout adolescence.

Keywords: body dissatisfaction, ideal body mass index, adolescence, gender differences, evolutive differences.

Este estudio examina el nivel de satisfacción corporal en adolescentes y su asociación con la edad, el sexo y el índice de masa corporal. La muestra, no clínica, estuvo conformada por 935 adolescentes (484 varones y 451 mujeres) con edades comprendidas entre los 10 y los 18 años. La imagen corporal fue medida por medio de la escala Insatisfacción Corporal perteneciente al Inventario de Trastornos de la Conducta Alimentaria (Garner, 1998, 2004) y el indicador indirecto Índice de Masa Corporal Ideal. Los resultados mostraron que el Índice de Masa Corporal es una covariable importante en el estudio de la insatisfacción corporal. En la muestra de mujeres, las puntuaciones medias en insatisfacción corporal aumentaron. Las puntuaciones de los varones no cambiaron a lo largo de la adolescencia.

Palabras clave: insatisfacción corporal, índice de masa corporal ideal, adolescencia, diferencias de género, diferencias evolutivas.

The existence of an ideal beauty determined and shared by a social group to which highly valued personality and social characteristics are associated to (Annis, Cash, & Hrabosky, 2004; Davison, & McCabe, 2006), together with the perception of discrepancies between one's own body image and an ideal body image may create feelings of body dissatisfaction (Lindberg, & Zweigbergk, 2005; Maganto, & Cruz, 2008; Toro, 2004). The psychosocial description and implications of body dissatisfaction and thinness as the ideal beauty have been the aim of several studies that conclude and warn how this is a precursor to psychological disorders (Crow, Eisenberg, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2008; Garner, 2004; Johnson, & Wardle, 2005; Rodriguez- Cano, Beato-Fernandez, & Llario, 2006) and show its influence in diminishing quality of life (Cash, Morrow, Hrabosky, & Perry, 2004).

Amongst the factors linked to body dissatisfaction, gender and age have received the majority of researchers' attention (Elosua, Bully, & López, in press; Elosua, & López-Jáuregui, 2010; Maganto, & Cruz, 2008; Penkal, & Kurdek, 2007). However, little is known about the evolution of body dissatisfaction and the desire for thinness in men and women throughout their life cycle. On the one hand, most studies have focused on the gender differences; while on the other hand, the various conclusions provided have been diverse and even contradictory.

In terms of women, and in line with some studies, the beginning of primary education is a critical moment in the appearance of body dissatisfaction (Davison, Markey, & Birch, 2000; Dohnt, & Tiggemann, 2005) and dieting (Dohnt, & Tiggemann, 2005; Lowes, & Tiggemann, 2003), especially amongst girls with a higher body mass index. Several studies note that there is an increase in body dissatisfaction and a desire to be thinner from the ages of 9-10 to the end of adolescence (Halvarsson, Lunner, Westerberg, Anteson, & Sjödén, 2001; Herrero, & Viña, 2005). Other authors establish the critical moment for an increase in body dissatisfaction between 13-15 years old (Halvarsson, et al., 2001; Leung, Wang, & Tang, 2004; Striegel-Moore, 1993; Thurfjell et al., 2004), with dissatisfaction remaining stable from that moment on (Altabe, & Thompson, 1993; Deeks, & McCabe, 2001; Demarest, & Allen, 2000; Elosua, López-Jáuregui, & Sánchez-Sánchez, 2010; Webster, & Tiggemann, 2003). …

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