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With aging, women’s bodies undergo changes that can affect body image perception, yet little is known about body image in midlife. In a subset of the SWAN cohort from Chicago, the associations between body image and depressive symptoms were investigated [1]. Body image was measured using the Stunkard Adult Female Figure Rating Scale, and a clinically significant level of depressive symptoms was defined as a Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) score of ≥ 16 (total [i]n[/i] = 405; depression [i]n[/i] = 63 (15.6%)). Differences between perceived actual, perceived ideal and actual body size and responses to questions concerning weight satisfaction and attractiveness were examined using logistic regression for associations with a CES-D score of ≥ 16. Women with body image dissatisfaction (odds ratio, OR = 1.91; [i]p[/i] = 0.04) or who perceived themselves as ‘unattractive’ (OR 7.74; [i]p[/i] < 0.01) had higher odds of CES-D of ≥ 16. There was no significant difference by race, and results were not confounded by body mass index. To conclude, midlife women with poor body image may be more likely to have clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms.

Author(s)

  • Amos Pines
    Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Citations

  1. Jackson KL, Janssen I, Appelhans BM, et al. Body image satisfaction and depression in midlife women: the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Arch Womens Ment Health 2014;17:177-87
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24623160
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