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Int J Obes. 1989;13(1):89-97.

Dissatisfaction with weight and figure in obese girls: discontent but not depression.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia.


This study examined psychological functioning and satisfaction with weight and figure in a total of 393 obese and nonobese adolescent girls from lower-middle to middle-class families. No significant differences were observed between the two groups on measures of trait anxiety or depression, and all subjects scored well within normal limits. Obese girls did, however, report significantly greater dissatisfaction with their weight and figure than did nonobese girls. Many nonobese girls also expressed dissatisfaction with their weight, supporting the view that women's dissatisfaction with weight is a 'normative discontent'. Nearly 70 percent of the total sample had attempted to lose weight in the past year. The results of this study indicate that obese girls in the general population are dissatisfied with their weight but are not significantly anxious or depressed, as had been suggested by studies of overweight adolescents in clinical settings.

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