Body image concerns: levels, correlates and gender differences among students in the United Kingdom

El Ansari, Walid and Dibba, Emily and Stock, Christiane (2014) Body image concerns: levels, correlates and gender differences among students in the United Kingdom. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22 (2). pp. 106-117. ISSN 1210-7778

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Abstract

AIMS: This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the socio-demographic, lifestyle and well-being variables that are associated with body image concerns (BIC) and whether these associations differed between female and male students. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey; 3,706 undergraduate students (2,699 females, 765 males) from seven universities in the UK completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed socio-demographic, lifestyle, well-being and BIC based on the Body Shape Questionnaire developed by Cooper et al. Multifactorial logistic regression analysis examined the odds ratios for the association between four increasing levels of BIC as the dependent variables (no BIC, mild BIC, moderate BIC and marked BIC) on the one hand, and the socio-demographic (gender, age, year at university), lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition) and mental well-being variables (quality of life, perceived stress, perceived health, depressive symptoms) on the other. RESULTS: More females (35%) than males (8%) reported being moderately or markedly concerned with their body image. For both genders, BIC was associated with a higher level of depressive symptoms and to variable extents, with nutrition and year at university. Females' BICs were exclusively associated with low perceived health, higher perceived stress, studies in general as a stressor, and low physical activity. In contrast, males' BIC were found to be exclusively associated with low quality of life and with older age. CONCLUSIONS: Health promoting strategies and activities should address the co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and BIC and should moreover pay attention to the gender-specific correlates of BIC for tailoring evidence based interventions for females and for males.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: The published article is freely available via the publisher's website.
Uncontrolled Keywords: body image concern, gender, student’s health, university, body shape, stress, depressive symptoms
Related URLs:
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Computing and Applied Sciences > School of Sport & Exercise
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2015 15:25
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 10:31
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1345

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