Body image across the adult lifespan: A longitudinal investigation of developmental and cohort effects

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Hockey, Allanah
Milojev, Petar
Sibley, Chris G
Donovan, Caroline Leanne
Barlow, Fiona Kate
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2021
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Abstract

The current study examined patterns of normative change and cohort effects in body image across the male and female adult lifespan. Body satisfaction was assessed in longitudinal data spanning six years, from 2010 to 2015. Cohort sequential latent growth curve modelling was utilized to assess patterns of mean-level change due to both aging and cohort effects in 15,264 participants (62.9 % women) aged between 18–94 years (M = 46.55, SD = 14.24). Results demonstrated a very slight increase in body satisfaction across the lifespan for both men and women. Cohort effects demonstrated that for women aged 54 years and below, all but two cohorts (24–29 and 34–39 years) displayed an upward trajectory in their body satisfaction over the 5-year period of assessment. No consistent cohort effects were evident for men. Finally, men, relative to women, consistently displayed higher levels of body satisfaction across the lifespan. This study provides insights into the trajectory of body image across the lifespan for men and women. The findings also suggest recent (cohort) improvements in body image for women, and potential explanations for this unexpected shift are discussed.

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Body Image
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Social psychology
Social Sciences
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Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Psychology, Clinical
Psychiatry
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Hockey, A; Milojev, P; Sibley, CG; Donovan, CL; Barlow, FK, Body image across the adult lifespan: A longitudinal investigation of developmental and cohort effects, Body Image, 2021, 39, pp. 114-124
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