Development of Body Image, Eating Disturbance, and General Psychological Functioning in Female Adolescents: Covariance Structure Modeling and Longitudinal Investigations

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Objective: Covariance structure modeling (CSM) and longitudinal analyses were used to identify a possible causal sequence for factors that might lead to the development of body image and eating disturbance in adolescent females. Method: In Study 1, subjects were measured for level of obesity, perceived weight status, maturational timing, history of being teased about weight/size, body image, eating disturbance, and global psychological functioning. Study 2 was a systematic replication of Study 1 using different indices of body image and a more comprehensive assessment of eating disturbance. In Study 3, subjects from Study 1 were reassessed at a 3‐year follow‐up. Results: The findings from Study 1 indicated that level of obesity and perceived weight, but not maturational timing, had a directional influence on the other variables. In addition, teasing history was significantly related to the development of body image and eating disturbance. CSM and path analyses with Studies 2 and 3 data generally replicated and extended the results from Study 1. Discussion: These findings offer important insights into possible causal sequences for the development of body image and eating disturbance.

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International Journal of Eating Disorders, v. 18, issue 3, p. 221-236