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"Do I Look Okay?": Unpacking the Relations Between Body Image, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Mental Health

Sara Elisa Gonzalez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Body image dissatisfaction leads to an array of social and mental health adverse effects among youth and young adults. The purpose of this dissertation study is to assess the relations between self-reported body image satisfaction and bullying victimization, depression, and anxiety among youth and young adults across self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity subgroups. Individuals who self-identify as belonging to sexual and/or gender minority groups are at higher risk for experiencing higher levels of body image dissatisfaction and, in turn, psycho-social consequences. Data were collected from youth (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 19-25) who participated in a larger, international research study. The current study found that individuals who identified as questioning their sexual orientation, those who identified as transgender, and participants’ aged 13-19 reported lower body image satisfaction. Additionally, lower body image satisfaction was associated with elevated depressive and anxious symptomatology. Interaction effects between body image dissatisfaction and sexual identity on mental health symptomatology were found for depressive symptomatology and for anxious symptomatology solely in young adults. This research advances empirical literature by being one of the first to examine psychosocial outcomes of body image differences across multiple self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity subgroups. Implications for research and clinical practice as well as study limitations are discussed.^

Subject Area

Mental health|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Gonzalez, Sara Elisa, ""Do I Look Okay?": Unpacking the Relations Between Body Image, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Mental Health" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10927960.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI10927960

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