Category: Aging and Older Adults
Body dissatisfaction (BD) is associated with various negative health and wellness outcomes in adolescent girls and young women, and these relationships often remain when controlling for body mass index (BMI; e.g., Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2006). Research in younger adult women found that BD was associated with reduced quality of life (QOL) when controlling for BMI (Mond et al., 2012). Additionally, BD mediated the relationship between obesity and emotional wellbeing in female adolescents (Mond et al., 2011). Although the consequences of BD have been explored extensively in younger samples, much remains unknown about the health and QOL correlates of BD in older populations. Yet, research indicates that BD is prevalent among women throughout mid- and late-life (e.g., 60-70%; Kilpela et al., 2015). Therefore, research is warranted to better understand the impact of BD on the health and QOL of women in mid- and late-life. The aim of the current study is to evaluate BD as a potential mediator of the relationship between BMI and various QOL domains, negative affect, and enjoyment of physical activity in a sample of women ages 50 and over. Participants (N=181, M age = 58.2, SD = 6.5) completed self-report measures of BD (Body Shape Questionnaire), quality of life (World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale), negative affect (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), and enjoyment of physical activity (Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale) as a part of a larger study on body image and wellness in women. Results indicated that BMI was associated with BD (a path: b = .68, t(179) = 6.36, p < .0001, R2 = .18). BD was associated with all outcome variables (b paths) except enjoyment of physical activity. BD fully mediated the relationship between BMI and psychological QOL (c path: b = -1.11, t(179) = -4.79, p < .0001, c’ path: b = -.45, t(178) = -1.94, p = .054, 95% CI: -.97, -.40), social QOL (c path: b = -1.05, t(179) = -3.98, p = .0001, c’ path: b = -.43, t(178) = -1.58, p = .12, 95% CI: -.99, -.36), and negative affect (c path: b = .50, t(179) = 3.09, p < .002, c’ path: b = .07, t(179) - .42, p = .68, 95% CI: .27, .64). BD partially mediated the relationship between BMI and physical QOL (c path: b = -1.07, t(179) = -4.78, p b = -.59, t(178) = -2.52, p = .013, 95% CI: -.79, -.26) and environmental QOL (c path: b = -.92, t(179) = -4.69, p < .0001, c’ path: b = -.65, t(178) = -3.22, p = .002, 95% CI: -.48, -.09). Overall, results indicate that BD plays a notable role in the relationship between BMI and QOL outcomes in older women, but this mediational relationship appears to be stronger in psychological and social domains. Given these findings, interventions targeting reduction of BD offer an avenue for improvement in mood and QOL among older women.
Lisa Kilpela– University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Christina Verzijl– Graduate Student, University of South Florida, Temple Terrace, Florida
Tiffany Stewart– Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Carolyn Becker– Professor, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas
University of South Florida
Temple Terrace, Florida