Sex differences in quality of life impairment associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescents
Griffiths, S and Murray, SB and Bentley, C and Gratwick-Sarll, K and Harrison, C and Mond, JM, Sex differences in quality of life impairment associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Health, 61, (1) pp. 77-82. ISSN 1054-139X (2017) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2017 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
Body dissatisfaction is strongly associated with quality of life impairment among both male and female adults, and the strength of this relationship is comparable between the sexes. Whether this is the case among adolescents, however, is unclear.
Adolescent girls (n = 1,135) and boys (n = 531) aged 12-18 years were recruited from secondary schools located in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Students completed a survey that included measures of body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, and psychosocial health- and physical health-related quality of life.
Girls reported higher levels of dissatisfaction than boys for each of the 12 body features assessed. The strength of the adverse associations between body dissatisfaction and quality of life impairment did not, however, differ by sex, and this was the case for both physical health-related and psychosocial quality of life domains. For both girls and boys, associations between body dissatisfaction and both quality of life impairment persisted after controlling for eating disorder symptoms, body mass index, and other covariates.
While levels of body dissatisfaction remain higher in girls than in boys, the adverse impact of body dissatisfaction on adolescentsí quality of life does not appear to differ by sex. This impact entails impairment in both physical health and psychosocial quality of life domains and does not appear to be accounted for by an association between body dissatisfaction and eating disorder pathology. The findings support the need to conceive of body dissatisfaction as a public health concern in its own right.
body dissatisfaction, body image, quality of life, gender differences