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Internalising symptoms and body dissatisfaction: untangling temporal precedence using cross-lagged models in two cohorts

Patalay, P; Sharpe, H; Wolpert, M; (2015) Internalising symptoms and body dissatisfaction: untangling temporal precedence using cross-lagged models in two cohorts. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines , 56 (11) pp. 1223-1230. 10.1111/jcpp.12415. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cross-sectional studies demonstrate that body dissatisfaction and internalising symptoms are correlated and are both overrepresented in girls compared to boys. However, it is not clear whether body dissatisfaction typically precedes internalising symptoms or vice versa. Existing literature provides theoretical and empirical support for both possibilities, but is limited in two ways: (a) no study has simultaneously tested the two temporal hypotheses within the same model, and (b) the studies focus almost exclusively on early adolescents resulting in little being known about development from preadolescence and across puberty. METHODS: This study used data from 5485 primary school students (49.1% girls, aged 8–9 years at baseline) and 5981 secondary school students (53.9% girls, aged 11–12 years at baseline). Self-reports of internalising symptoms and body dissatisfaction were collected over three consecutive years at 1-year intervals. Cross-lagged models were estimated in the two cohorts, for boys and girls separately, to examine the temporal associations between these two domains across the three measurement points. RESULTS: In the younger cohort, internalising symptoms predicted body dissatisfaction 1-year later for both boys and girls, whereas there was no evidence for the reverse being true. In the older cohort, internalising symptoms predicted later body dissatisfaction for boys. However, in girls, body dissatisfaction predicted later internalising symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: In preadolescents, internalising symptoms drive later body dissatisfaction regardless of gender, suggesting body dissatisfaction is a specific manifestation of a tendency towards negative affect. From age 11, girls develop a distinct risk profile whereby body dissatisfaction drives later internalising symptoms. Preventative interventions in this field would benefit from adopting a developmentally sensitive approach that takes into account gender differences in risk pathways.

Type: Article
Title: Internalising symptoms and body dissatisfaction: untangling temporal precedence using cross-lagged models in two cohorts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12415
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12415
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Psychology, Developmental, Psychiatry, Psychology, Internalising, body image, eating disorders, psychopathology, adolescence, childhood, Dolescent Girls, Risk-Factors, Depressive Symptoms, Eating-Disorders, Media Influences, Mental-Health, Image, Boys, Behaviors, Gender
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499978
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