Stress triggers 'poor body image'

Stress triggers 'poor body image'

An international team has carried out the study and found that the causes of stress are significantly different for males and females, both can contribute to poor body image in both sexes. The study, led by Kristen Murray of Australian National University, clearly showed that stress is strongly related to dysfunctional body image in adolescents. However, while the causes of that stress for young women are predominantly related to peer pressure and school attendance, what's playing on the minds of young men are romantic relationships and uncertainty about the future.

For their study, the researchers surveyed more than 500 adolescents in grades 7 to 10 in schools across Canberra. The research suggests that the stress experienced by adolescents may induce feelings of depression and trigger deteriorations in self-esteem. That depression and low self-esteem may, in turn, contribute to negative feeling’s regarding their own bodies.

"The stress associated with the challenges of adolescence is an important risk factor for mental health problems, but this is the first study to look at the role of stress in the development of poor body image. "The research showed a strong relationship between stress and body image dissatisfaction, which was explained in part by reduced self-esteem and increased depressive symptoms for both females and males.

"However, the results also showed the types of issues that caused the stress in males and females were quite different. "That is, the stress related to peer pressure and school attendance related significantly to dysfunctional body image for females and males, while stress related to romantic relationships and future uncertainty were significant only for males," Murray said.

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