Body image and health complaints among adolescents: does the form of weight reduction behaviour matter?


  • Z. Dankulincova Veselska
  • A. Madarasova Geckova


Background: Body image dissatisfaction was found to be associated with engagement in different forms of weight reduction behaviour among adolescents. Question remains, whether all forms of weight reduction behaviour (healthy and unhealthy) influence psychosomatic health in the similar way and whether this association goes through their life satisfaction. Aim of this study was therefore to explore association between body image dissatisfaction and psychosomatic health complaints among adolescents with the specific role of different forms of weight reduction behaviour and life satisfaction on this association. Methods: We obtained data from 5th to 9th grade students in 2014 via the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children cross-sectional study in Slovakia (n=5,152, 13-16 years old, mean age=14.5, 50.1% boys). Hierarchical binary logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender and BMI were used to explore proposed associations of body image with unhealthy and healthy forms of weight reduction behaviour, life satisfaction and psychosomatic health complaints. Findings: Body image dissatisfaction was associated with more frequent psychosomatic health complaints (p<0.001). This association was mediated by low life satisfaction (p<0.001) and engagement in unhealthy forms of weight reduction behaviour (p<0.001). Discussion: As is indicated by our results, focus on weight reduction behaviour is crucial when approaching adolescents with body image dissatisfaction and low life satisfaction, as especially unhealthy forms of weight reduction behaviour seems to have negative impact on their health.





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