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The Psychological Effect Of Body Image On Adolescence

1044 words - 4 pages

For individuals in the adolescent stage, there are many experiences and social pressures that they face daily. In this time of development teenagers are starting to really ask questions like “Who am I?” While teenagers are in search for answers, they are bombarded with certain influential factors that can hinder or help them. Many of the social strains assist in the individual on how to define themselves, and the position of their social stature. One factor that is especially influential in the adolescent community is body image. Body image is an issue that has always been of important consideration for teenagers. How a person looks can determine who they associate with, how they are perceived and represent their way of self-expression. Most of the times in this life stage how an individual view themselves can affect them in certain ways, such as their psyche. The effects of body image for adolescents can cause certain psychological impairments such as dysmorphophobia, eating disorders, and early sexual practices.
Body image can cause the psychological impairment dysmorphophobia on adolescents. Dysmorphophobia also known as body dysmorphic disorder is described by Philips and Rogers (2011) as, “a distressing or impairing preoccupation with nonexistent or slight defect(s) in appearance.” According to Bolton (2010) usually the person with the disorder is continuously fixated with fixing or inspecting a portion of their body that they may feel is their biggest imperfection. This disorder mainly starts at early adolescence when individuals are starting to mature more physically. Due to society being so engrossed with the topic of image, many teenagers are developing this disorder and constantly try to fix themselves bases on what magazines say is “true beauty.” When teenagers develop the mentality that they always have to hide their shortcomings, it can cause them to feel that they are unappealing and may make them feel a sense of shame and unimportance when compared to other adolescents.
An example of the disorder dymorphobia affecting an adolescent because of body image portrayal can be seen with J. J is a 12 year old teenager who frequently judges and tries to repair his appearance for about six hours a day. Illustrated by Philips and Rogers (2011), he believed that “his head was “too big,” his arms looked like “toothpicks,” and his hair looked “ugly and weird.” J was very distraught with his body image and did not feel as if he could belong with other based on the difference of appearance. He is but one of the many teenagers who do not feel as if they fit in with the rest of the people of their age because their image is not often advertised with the word beauty.
Body image can also cause teenagers to develop eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Teenagers would try to adjust their appearance and not only psychologically but physically reject their bodies to comply with societies standards. According to Berk...

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