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Body dissatisfaction predicts the onset of depression among adolescent females and males: a prospective study

Abstract

Rationale Body dissatisfaction is prevalent in mid-adolescence and may be associated with the onset of depression.

Objective The study assessed the influence of body dissatisfaction on the occurrence of later depressive episodes in a population-based sample of British adolescents.

Method Participants were 2078 females and 1675 males from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort. Logistic regression was used to test if body dissatisfaction at 14 years old predicted the onset of depressive episodes at 18 years old, controlling for baseline depression.

Results Among females, body dissatisfaction predicted mild (OR=1.63, 95% CI=1.31, 2.04), moderate (OR=1.67, 95% CI=1.28, 2.18) and severe depressive episodes (OR=1.84, 95% CI=1.09, 3.12). Among males, body dissatisfaction predicted mild (OR=1.50, 95% CI=1.00, 2.25) and severe depressive episodes (OR=2.85, 95% CI=1.18, 6.87) at 18 years of age.

Conclusions This is the first prospective study to demonstrate that body dissatisfaction in adolescence predicts the occurrence of later depressive episodes in a cohort born in the early 1990s. The findings highlight that body dissatisfaction is a public health concern.

  • ADOLESCENTS CG
  • DEPRESSION
  • LONGITUDINAL STUDIES
  • PSYCHOLOGY

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