Video: Teen body image -- reality versus perception

December 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. — For many, the topic of teen body image conjures thoughts of overweight adolescents battling the scale, peer separation and depression, but a recent study conducted by Michelle Frisco and Jason Houle of Penn State's Department of Sociology reveals that more and more teens are dealing with self-image anxiety.

It's a conflict between weight perception and actual weight. Teens who are overweight tend to realize it and at times deal with the issues much better than those teens who are not overweight yet feel a self-imposed judgment of their weight and body image. This is especially true for female teens who clinically fit into the average height and weight categories for adolescents. Another category of teens highlighted in this study are underweight boys, a sample population previously ignored by many when it comes to self-image and depression.

The study was conducted by using data from more than 25,000 male and female participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health at the University of North Carolina. Frisco and Houle examined the nationally representative information through quantitative analysis, focusing on how weight and weight perception influence mental health. Their findings shed new light on an already troubling issue.

To view a video about the study, visit online.

  • Click on the image above to view a video about a Penn State research study focused on teen body image.

    IMAGE: Pat Mansell

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 18, 2011