Volume 7

Onset of Body Image Dissatisfaction Among Elementary School Girls

Maureen Maskell, Melissa Lennox, and Laureen Frost

Body dissatisfaction is prevalent among adolescent girls. However, the problem does not suddenly emerge with puberty. The purpose of this study was to examine the age of onset of body image dissatisfaction and contributing factors. Girls (n = 35), between the ages of 5 to 11, were individually interviewed. Demographic information as well as ratings of self-esteem, body image, and fear of weight gain was collected. The girls were also presented with three models of girls varying in body size, which were rated for perceived self-esteem, body image, and fear of weight gain. Initial results indicate that body dissatisfaction increases with age as does fear of weight gain. Further analyses will compare self and model ratings, as well as examine home and family factors contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction. The findings highlight the need to give attention to pre-adolescent girls’ body image concerns.

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