Profiles of body image disturbance and their external correlates

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Existing theory and empirical investigations indicate that body image disturbance (BID) is a multidimensional disturbance, composed of several related yet distinguishable components (e.g., cognitive-affective, behavioral, and health/fitness related components; Banefield & McCabe, 2002; Cash, 2002; Maïano, Monthuy-Blanc, & Garbarino, 2009; Thompson et al., 1999; Zanetti, Santonastaso, Sgaravatti, Degortes & Favaro, 2013). There is little research, however, that addresses the common presentations of theorized components of body image in individuals. The present study sought to identify common profiles of BID based on their symptomatic content and investigate how these profiles related to external criteria in a non-clinical sample of 119 young women. Results of latent class analyses revealed three distinct profiles of BID. Follow up analyses suggest that these profiles are related to BID severity and are associated with differences in the degree of endorsement of BID symptoms (i.e., low, moderate, high levels of symptoms) but do not reflect differences in content of BID symptoms (i.e., the same type of symptoms of BID appear in each class). Follow up analyses suggest that severity profiles are associated with significant differences on measures of psychopathology, appearance related teasing, and body mass index. These results suggest that in a non-clinical sample individuals with BID are distinguished by the degree to which they display symptoms of BID but not the type of BID symptoms displayed. Results indicate that clinicians should expect and account for similar degrees of disturbance in multiple areas body image and that BID may be associated with more general forms of distress. Future work should explore how profiles of BID may vary in different samples, particularly samples of eating disordered individuals and men.

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