Depression/Unhappiness And Poor Body Image/ Body Dissatisfaction

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Depression/Unhappiness and Poor Body Image/ Body Dissatisfaction

Depression/Unhappiness and Poor Body Image/ Body Dissatisfaction


The paper is based on literature review of twenty two journal articles on the topic of depression, unhappiness, poor body image and body dissatisfaction and this review of literature mainly focuses to expore the correlation between all of them. Body image is a widespread preoccupation. In one study of college students, 74.4% of the normal-weight women stated that they thought about their weight or appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” But the women weren't alone; the study also found that 46% of the normal-weight men surveyed responded the same way. Encouragement to focus on appearance is at an all-time high in this culture, and with it comes the potential for a significant increase in negative body image. According to the authors of The Adonis Complex, There's often a vicious circle here: the more a person focuses on his body, the worse he tends to feel about how he looks - obsession breeds discontent. Poor body image increases the risk for extreme weight/body control behaviors. Researchers have found that increased preoccupation with appearance and body dissatisfaction put people at greater risk for engaging in dangerous practices to control weight and size. Extreme dieting, exercise compulsion, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking and use of anabolic steroids have all been associated with negative body image.

Literature Review

Over the past decades the number of women diagnosed with an eating disorder has risen substantially (Kostanski et al., 1998a). Kostanski, Ricciardelli, (1998a) demonstrated that from 1960 to 1978 the size of Miss America and Playboy centerfolds has become increasingly thinner. In contrast, the actual population of American female is getting heavier (Kostanski et al., 1998a). A more recent study found this to be true for pageant contestants form 1979 to 1988, but did not observe the same results for centerfolds (Harvey, 1993). This discontinuity of shape and weight among women in the media and the population in general may to lead to unhealthy eating patterns (Kostanski, 1998b), and researchers have been encouraged to further investigate the role of societal influences in the development of eating disorders (Petrie et al., 1996). It has been suggested that the messages that females receive from the media, family, and peers, help to perpetuate and validate the female thin-ideal (Ricciardelli, 2000; Petrie et al., 1994, Kostanski et al., 1998a). Social reinforcement of the thin-ideal leads to internalization of this ideal (Petrie, 1994; Harvey, 1993) thus leading to the development of body dissatisfaction, negative affect and dieting which are precursors to the manifestation of an eating disorder (Jones, 1998aa).

Positive and Negative Body Image

We have a positive body image when we have a realistic perception of our bodies and we enjoy them just as they are. Positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in many shapes and sizes, and that physical appearance says very little about our character or value as a person. Healthy body image means that our assessment of our bodies is kept separate from our sense of ...
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