Publication Date

2015-08-07

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2017-01-28

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2015-04-30

First Committee Member

Michael T. French

Second Committee Member

Robert J. Johnson

Third Committee Member

Olena P. Antonaccio

Fourth Committee Member

Philip K. Robins

Fifth Committee Member

Theodore Ganiats

Abstract

Extant research indicates that early and mid adolescence are times of notable pubertal changes, which are accompanied by rapid physical, cognitive, and social transitions. For young women, these changes are particularly stressful. The female body changes extensively and is subject to societal ideals of beauty, thinness, and objectification. The current dissertation offers a novel bio-psycho-social perspective to the study of adolescent self-perceived development. Utilizing data from Waves, I III, and IV of Add Health, I constructed a composite index of self-perceived body development during adolescence and examined its impact on four health outcomes. After running several regression models, and testing for robustness, results from this study indicate that there is a statistically significant relationship between self-perceived body development and adult health among women, but not among men. Girls with greater scores on the self-perceived body development index are more likely to report lower levels of self-rated health, are more likely to have been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime, have higher scores on the CES-D depression scale, a greater probability of seeking counseling, and have higher BMIs during emerging adulthood. These results are an important contribution, as they indicate that self-perceived bodily changes during adolescence may represent risk factors for women’s adult health.

Keywords

Stress; Adolescence; Adult Health; Body development; Self-Perceptions; Women

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