Volume 13

Perceptions of Personal and Character Body Sizes and the Effects on Depression and Body Image

Jason D. Paolillo

This study examined the relationships among BMI, depression, body appearance and body dissatisfaction. Participants’ included 107 undergraduates, 75% of who were women, randomly assigned to reading one of four scenarios that varied by characters’ gender and weight. The students then evaluated the depicted character on body dissatisfaction, appearance, and depression. Students also provided self-report information on depression, body dissatisfaction, appearance, height, weight and overall satisfaction of body. The findings indicated that young adults perceived scenario characters that were overweight as having lower self-esteem, higher levels of depression, and more body dissatisfaction than normal weight scenario characters. Findings also showed that when asked to indicate body ideals, overweight young adults selected images smaller than their own to a greater extent than did average or underweight young adults. Problematic body issues for overweight young adults are discussed.

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