Body-image and eating disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents: a longitudinal study

J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 Aug;109(3):438-44.


This study examined data from a 4-year school-based longitudinal study (n = 1,124), to test whether the increase in major depression that occurs among girls during adolescence may be partially explained by the body-image and eating disturbances that emerge after puberty. Elevated body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms at study entry predicted onset of subsequent depression among initially nondepressed youth in bivariate analyses controlling for initial depressive symptoms. Although the unique effect for body dissatisfaction was not significant in the multivariate model, this set of risk factors was able to fairly accurately foretell which girls would go on to develop major depression. Results were consistent with the assertion that the body-image- and eating-related risk factors that emerge after puberty might contribute to the elevated rates of depression for adolescent girls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Students / psychology