Depression in adulthood may be a normal occurrence. However, one's body image during the teenage years can result in adults experiencing depression later on.
A study titled "Body dissatisfaction predicts the onset of depression among adolescent females and males: a prospective study" published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, revealed that more than 60 percent of adolescents experienced being dissatisfied with their bodies to a certain extent. The trend seemed to come alongside the boom in social media, where many teenagers today are so focused on getting the right selfies or painting a picture-perfect image on Instagram.
The authors of the study said that despite the connection between eating disorders and negative body image, poor mental health, and other risky behaviours, a negative body image has not been viewed as a concern.
While few kids are struggling with depression, the likelihood of experiencing it grows as these children grow older. This is why the authors of the study looked at how depression also affects the body image of adolescents.
The study conducted among UK teens gathered the responses of the participants in relation to their "body satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction." When the participants were 14, they rated how satisfied they were with their figure, weight, stomach, body build, breasts, thighs, butt, legs, hips, face, and hair. The researchers had the participants use a five-point scale.
When the participants were already 18 years old, their depression symptoms, as well as its severity were assessed by a nurse. They found that both girls and boys were somehow satisfied with their bodies, but girls had a higher propensity to be dissatisfied with theirs.
The researchers found that among the parts that females were mostly dissatisfied with were their weight, stomach, thighs, hair, and hips. As for males, it would often narrow down to the stomach, build, and hips.
Overall, teens' weight and figure were two of the most common factors that bring about distress upon teenagers. They found that those girls who showed dissatisfaction with their figures at 14 exhibited mild, moderate, and/or severe depressive episodes when they were already 18 years old. For boys, they only mild and/or moderate depressive episodes, but not to the extent of having severe depressive episodes.