Body Dissatisfaction and Depression

Body dissatisfaction - negative thoughts and feelings about one’s own body - is associated with a variety of mental health concerns and other poor health outcomes.1 It is particularly common among adolescent girls, where it contributes to disproportionately high rates of eating disorders.2 Because of this, it is the target of many effective eating disorder prevention interventions.3

In addition to its effects on eating disorders, body dissatisfaction is a significant contributor to depression among adolescents.4 In fact, body dissatisfaction is a significant contributor to the immense gender gap in depression that emerges in this developmental period.5 Despite this, relatively little is known about the effects of interventions that target body dissatisfaction on depression specifically. Working with Dr. Jessica Schleider and the Lab for Scalable Mental Health, Isaac is working to quantify the effects of such interventions on depression in adolescents. Ultimately, we hope to understand the potential for interventions targeting body dissatisfaction to alleviate depressive symptoms in adolescence and to combat the gender gap in depression that emerges in this period.

  1. Bucchianeri Michaela, M., and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer. 2014. “Body Dissatisfaction: An Overlooked Public Health Concern.” Journal of Public Mental Health 13 (2): 64–69. ↩︎

  2. Stice, Eric, Jeff M. Gau, Paul Rohde, and Heather Shaw. 2017. “Risk Factors That Predict Future Onset of Each DSM-5 Eating Disorder: Predictive Specificity in High-Risk Adolescent Females.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 126 (1): 38–51. ↩︎

  3. Stice, Eric, C. Nathan Marti, Heather Shaw, and Paul Rohde. 2019. “Meta-Analytic Review of Dissonance-Based Eating Disorder Prevention Programs: Intervention, Participant, and Facilitator Features That Predict Larger Effects.” Clinical Psychology Review 70 (June): 91–107. ↩︎

  4. Stice, Eric, and Chris Hayward. 2000. “Body-Image and Eating Disturbances Predict Onset of Depression Among Female Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 109 (3): 438–44. ↩︎

  5. Ferreiro, Fátima, Gloria Seoane, and Carmen Senra. 2014. “Toward Understanding the Role of Body Dissatisfaction in the Gender Differences in Depressive Symptoms and Disordered Eating: A Longitudinal Study during Adolescence.” Journal of Adolescence 37 (1): 73–84. ↩︎

Isaac Ahuvia
Isaac Ahuvia
Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology