Understanding body image perception and body image discontentment in early adolescence





Body image, body perception, adolescents


Background: The mounting trends of beauty perceptions have contributed to distorted body image among adolescents. This demands understanding about current pointers of body image satisfaction to prevent eating disorders associated with mismanagement of weight in adolescents. Aim & Objective: The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to apprehend body image perception and dissatisfaction among adolescents (12-14years) across the genders and associate it with their actual BMI along with identifying the factors influencing body image perception. Settings and Design: A structured questionnaire was developed and administered on randomly selected 112 adolescents (68% boys & 34% girls, 12-14 years), mean age=12.8 ±0.45 from urban coeducational school of western India. Anthropometric measurements were taken with standardized tools and BMI z-scores were calculated. The actual and perceived weight was compared using paired t-test and descriptive statistics. Association between body image indicators, gender, and BMI were assessed using Chi-square test and One-way ANOVA. Factor analysis was done by Principal component analysis. Results: There was a significant difference in the perceived (M=2.31, SD=0.93) and actual BMI (M=1.96, SD=0.69), p=0.002. A significant association between gender and the influence of media idols, discrimination due to physical appearance and BMI was observed (p?.0.005).   Self-perception and judgements of others, behaviors related with self-fixation, social influence and inappropriate dietary practices and comparison with models and actors were the emerging factors identified. Conclusion: The body image perception was distorted among adolescents of both sexes, with higher body image discontent shown by girls. The perceived body image, when compared with their BMI was found to be incongruent across sexes.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Radhika Hedaoo, Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences, Symbiosis International (Deemed University),Lavale, Pune

Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics Program


Kapur S. Adolescence: the stage of transition. Horizons of holistic education. 2015 Jul; 2:233-50.

Kostanski M, Fisher A, Gullone E. Current conceptualisation of body image dissatisfaction: have we got it wrong?. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;45(7):1317-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00315.x. PubMed PMID: 15335351.[PubMed].

Rosewall JK, Gleaves DH, Latner JD. An examination of risk factors that moderate the body dissatisfaction-eating pathology relationship among New Zealand adolescent girls. J Eat Disord. 2018;6:38. doi: 10.1186/s40337-018-0225-z. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30473790; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6240946.[PubMed].

Meadows A, Bombak AE. Yes, we can (no, you can’t): Weight stigma, exercise self-efficacy, and active fat identity development. Fat Studies. 2019 May 4;8(2):135-53.

Schilder P, Wertman R. Imagem do corpo: as energias construtivas da psique. Martins Fontes; 1994.

Martin JB. The development of ideal body image perceptions in the United States. Nutrition Today. 2010 May 1;45(3):98-110.

Bašková M, Holub?íková J, Baška T. Body-image Dissatisfaction and Weight-control Behaviour in Slovak Adolescents. Cent Eur J Public Health. 2017 Sep;25(3):216-221. doi: 10.21101/cejph.a4724. PubMed PMID: 29022681.[PubMed]

Golden NH, Schneider M, Wood C. Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2016 Sep;138(3). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1649. Epub 2016 Aug 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 27550979.[PubMed]

Marengo D, Longobardi C, Fabris MA, Settanni M. Highly-visual social media and internalizing symptoms in adolescence: The mediating role of body image concerns. Computers in Human Behavior. 2018 May 1;82:63-9.

Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L., and Tantleff, S. (1991). The physical appearance comparison scale. Behav. Ther. 14:174.

King’scollegeofLondonQuestionnaire https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/depts/psychology/research/ResearchGroupings/CADAT/Links/Body-Image-Questionnaire-(BIQ).pdf Accessed on 2 .5.2018.


Saleem, S.M. Modified Kuppuswamy scale updated for the year 2018. Paripex—Indian J Res, 2018;7;435.

Van den Broeck J, Willie D, Younger N. The World Health Organization child growth standards: expected implications for clinical and epidemiological research. Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Feb;168(2):247-51. doi: 10.1007/s00431-008-0796-9. Epub 2008 Aug 1. PubMed PMID: 18670787.[PubMed]

Auerswald M, Moshagen M. How to determine the number of factors to retain in exploratory factor analysis: A comparison of extraction methods under realistic conditions. Psychol Methods. 2019 Aug;24(4):468-491. doi: 10.1037/met0000200. Epub 2019 Jan 21. PubMed PMID: 30667242.[PubMed].

Deshmukh VR, Kulkarni AA. Body Image and its Relation with Body Mass Index among Indian Adolescents. Indian Pediatr. 2017 Dec 15;54(12):1025-1028. doi: 10.1007/s13312-017-1205-0. Epub 2017 Aug 24. PubMed PMID: 28849771.[PubMed]

Giles DC, Maltby J. The role of media figures in adolescent development: Relations between autonomy, attachment, and interest in celebrities. Personality and individual differences. 2004 Mar 1;36(4):813-22.

Smith, Stacy L., Marc Choueiti and Katherine Pieper. “Gender Bias Without Borders. An Investigation of Female Characters in Popular Films Across 11 Countries.” A report published by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media.2014, Accessed 1.9.2018 2019. http://seejane.org/wp-content/uploads/gender-bias-without-bordersexecutive-summary.pdf.

Fardouly J, Pinkus RT, Vartanian LR. The impact of appearance comparisons made through social media, traditional media, and in person in women's everyday lives. Body Image. 2017 Mar;20:31-39. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.11.002. Epub 2016 Nov 28. PubMed PMID: 27907812.[PubMed].

MacCallum F, Widdows H. Altered Images: Understanding the Influence of Unrealistic Images and Beauty Aspirations. Health Care Anal. 2018 Sep;26(3):235-245. doi: 10.1007/s10728-016-0327-1. PubMed PMID: 27432005; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6061013.[PubMed].

Ferguson CJ. The devil wears stata: Thin-ideal media’s minimal contribution to our understanding of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Archives of Scientific Psychology. 2018 Aug 20;6(1):70.

Rohde P, Stice E, Marti CN. Development and predictive effects of eating disorder risk factors during adolescence: Implications for prevention efforts. Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Mar;48(2):187-98. doi: 10.1002/eat.22270. Epub 2014 Mar 6. PubMed PMID: 24599841; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4156929.[PubMed].




How to Cite

Hedaoo R, M Gavaravarapu S. Understanding body image perception and body image discontentment in early adolescence. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2020 Jun. 30 [cited 2023 Nov. 29];32(2):411-7. Available from: https://www.iapsmupuk.org/journal/index.php/IJCH/article/view/1545



Original Article