Discontent with the body as a teenager can lead to moderate or severe depression for girls as adults, according to a new study
Teenage can be confusing and full of strange changes, developing the body can be one of them. These changes can be stressful especially if they don’t fit society’s standards of beauty or teen standards.
All this can lead to negative body image which can affect mental health. A new study has found that teenagers who experience body dissatisfaction are likely to experience depression as adults.
Some previous studies had shown that more than 60% of adolescents have reported experienced body dissatisfaction. With unrealistic photos and content on social media, the trend has been increasing in recent years.
Negative body image is directly connected to eating disorders, poor mental health, and other risky behaviors. Yet body dissatisfaction is not usually viewed as a concern by public health officials. Previous studies on the topic concentrated exclusively on dissatisfaction about weight and thickness instead of overall body dissatisfaction.
The new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health concentrates on body dissatisfaction. The study was conducted with United Kingdom-based Teenagers most of whom were white. Participants when 14 years old were asked to rate satisfaction with their figure, weight, body build, breasts, stomach, waist, butt, thighs, legs, face, hips, and hair. When the participants turned 18, their depression symptoms and severity were assessed.
The study found that though both boys and girls experienced some dissatisfaction regarding their body, girls seemed to be more dissatisfied than boys. The study also found that girls who were discontent with their bodies as teenagers experienced depressive episodes ranging from mild, moderate to severe. While boys experienced mild or moderate depressive episodes. Weight and figure were found to be the most common cause of concern.
Authors of the study noted that females tended to be more dissatisfied with their thighs, weight and stomach, hair, and hips. While males showed dissatisfaction towards the stomach, body build, and hips.
Towards Body Positivity
In today’s world of perfectly crafted images on social media young boys and girls are given false idols and are taught that they need to change their bodies to have a better life.
As a result, teenagers develop mental health issues and life-threatening eating disorders which is why it is of at most importance to promote body positivity, especially amongst teenagers.
By working on their perception of their body not only helps them be more appreciative of it but also helps boost their confidence.
One can start the body positivity journey by following a few simple tips like:
- Appreciate all Body Sizes – Remember body comes in all shapes and sizes so learn to appreciate and accept all of them.
- Avoid Comparison with Others.
- Wear clothes that make you feel good and donate those that no longer fit to a charity.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Regulate Social Media use – Remember what you see on social media isn’t always real. Also, block or unfollow accounts that promote negative body image thoughts.
- Fight the negative thoughts – Whenever you start having negative body thoughts imagine a stop sign and balance every negative thought with one body-positive thought.