Trends in the perceived body size of adolescent males and females in Scotland, 1990–2014: changing associations with mental well-being

Whitehead, R. D., Cosma, A., Cecil, J., Currie, C., Currie, D., Neville, F. and Inchley, J. (2018) Trends in the perceived body size of adolescent males and females in Scotland, 1990–2014: changing associations with mental well-being. International Journal of Public Health, 63(1), pp. 69-80. (doi:10.1007/s00038-017-0997-y) (PMID:28668973) (PMCID:PMC5766710)

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Abstract

Objectives: This paper explores trends in Scottish adolescents’ body size perceptions and associated mental well-being outcomes. Methods: Data were collected on Scottish 11-, 13-, and 15-year-olds by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study between 1990 and 2014 (n = 42,312). Logistic regression was used to examine changes in the prevalence of over- and underweight perceptions. Ordinal and linear regressions were used to examine changes in the association between body perception and mental well-being. Results: Little change was observed in over- or underweight perceptions. However, relative to those perceiving their body as ‘about right’, those perceiving themselves as overweight reported decreasing confidence (all groups), decreasing happiness (11- and 13-year-old girls), and increasing psychological health symptoms (all girls and 15-year-old boys). Perceived underweight is associated with poor well-being, especially in males, but we present little evidence that this is a recent phenomenon. Conclusions: We present evidence suggesting that the association between body size perception and poor mental health in adolescence is changing over time. This may play a role in the recently observed worsening of mental well-being in Scottish adolescents.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by NHS Health Scotland.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Inchley, Dr Joanna
Authors: Whitehead, R. D., Cosma, A., Cecil, J., Currie, C., Currie, D., Neville, F., and Inchley, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:International Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Springer International Publishing
ISSN:1661-8556
ISSN (Online):1661-8564
Published Online:01 July 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Authors 2017
First Published:First published in International Journal of Public Health 63(1):69-80
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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