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Body Image. 2004 Jan;1(1):15-28.

Body image in children and adolescents: where do we go from here?

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Department of Psychology, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH 43022, USA.


During the past two decades, there has been an explosion of research concerning body image in children and adolescence. This research has been fueled both by concern about the effects of poor body image in children and adolescents themselves and by the assumption that body dissatisfaction during childhood and adolescence creates risk for the development of body image and eating disturbances as well as depression in adulthood. The extant research, however, has remained largely descriptive and is marked by methodological problems. The purpose of the present paper is to identify substantial gaps in the literature concerning body image in children and adolescents. The focus is on four major issues: (1) measurement, (2) epidemiological data, (3) developmental trends, and (4) the meaning of gender. Addressing these and related questions will aid in the development of treatment and prevention programs.

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