Teens Unhappy with Physical Appearance Are Vulnerable to Develop Depression in Early Adulthood

January 18, 2021

Teens Unhappy with Physical Appearance Are Vulnerable to Develop Depression in Early Adulthood

Depression Mental Health

50 to 285 percent of increased risk by the age of 18 Boys are at higher risk.

 Teens who didn’t like the way they look had 50 to 285 percent higher risk of developing depression in early adulthood, suggested a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. It was found that boys were more vulnerable to experience severe depression than girls by the time they reach 18 years.

The study reported that nearly 32 percent of the girls and 14 percent of the boys were unhappy with their weight. The prevalence of mild to severe depressive episodes was higher in girls than boys.

The results indicated that 10 percent of the girls experienced at least one mild depressive episode while 5 percent of the boys reported the same. Similarly, severe depressive episode(s) were present in 1.5 percent of the girls while less than 1 percent of the boys experienced the same.

Furthermore, the data suggested that the incidence of depressive episodes linked to body dissatisfation at the age of 14 was higher among the girls while the same risk was higher among the boys by the time they were 18 years old.

The researchers blamed the increased use of social media for growing body dissatisfaction among adolescents. “It is possible that in the era of social media and increasing pressures on body ideals, male adolescents have also become sensitive to [idealised body image] pressures, which may translate into later depressive episodes,” they suggested.

Formally referred to as body dissatisfaction, nearly 61 percent teens across the world are not happy with their physical appearance, which in turn may lead to unhealthy behaviors, eating disorders, and poor mental health.

At the same time, they advised to consider body dissatisfaction as a public health issue of pressing concern. It is “highly prevalent among young people in the general population and has an increasing incidence; the findings indicate that reducing body dissatisfaction might be an effective strategy to reduce mental health issues,” the study concluded.

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