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J Adolesc. 2011 Apr;34(2):269-78. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

Investigating adolescent stress and body image.

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1
Department of Psychology, Building 39, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. kristen.murray@anu.edu.au

Abstract

Adolescent stress is clearly implicated in the development of mental health problems. However, its role in dysfunctional body image, which rises markedly in adolescence, has not been investigated. The present study examined the link between stress and body image, as well as self-esteem and depressive symptoms, in 533 high school students in grades 7 to 10. Results indicated that stress accounts for a sizeable proportion of variance in body image, and the best exploratory model included stress, self-esteem, and gender. Further, specific domains of stressors related to body image differently: peer pressure and school attendance were significant correlates of body image in both genders, while future uncertainty and romantic relationships were significant for males alone. Grade differences in primary variables were also evident for females. This study helps to elucidate the role of adolescent stress in dysfunctional body image and provides insight for future prevention and intervention programs in schools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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