Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fear of being too skinny may put teen boys at risk for depression, steroid use

13.01.2014
Steroid use more likely among depressed and bullying victims, study finds

Teenage boys who think they're too skinny when they are actually a healthy weight are at greater risk of being depressed as teens and as adults when compared to other boys, even those who think they are too heavy, according to findings published by the American Psychological Association.

Boys who inaccurately see themselves as overweight are also more likely to be depressed than boys who think they are of average weight, but their risk is not as significant as the boys who think they are very underweight, according to a study published online in the APA journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity.

Teenage boys who feel they are underweight and report being the victim of bullying are also more likely to use steroids and feel depressed than other boys their age, according to another study published in the same journal.

"These studies highlight the often underreported issue of distorted body image among adolescent boys," said Aaron Blashill, PhD, staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, who led both studies. "Teenage girls tend to internalize and strive for a thin appearance, whereas teenage boys tend to emphasize a more muscular body type. We found that some of these boys who feel they are unable to achieve that often unattainable image are suffering and may be taking drastic measures."

Blashill's research was based on two large, nationally representative samples of teenage boys in the U.S. The first sample included 2,139 boys who were about 16 years old in 1996 at the beginning of the study and were followed for 13 years.

Boys who perceived themselves as very underweight, but actually were average weight or higher, reported the highest level of depressive symptoms. These findings remained constant across the span of the study, which ended when the participants were close to 30 years old.

Researchers surveyed the participants three times about six years apart to assess depressive symptoms, body image perceptions and the participants' body mass index. To measure body image perceptions, the researchers asked the boys to rate their current weight, ranging from "very underweight" to "very overweight." They then compared those ratings with the participants' BMI.

There were 1,433 white participants, 513 black and 235 Hispanic. The rest of the sample identified themselves as Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American or "other."

In Blashill's other study, he also found boys who perceived themselves as underweight were more likely to feel depressed than their peers who were average or overweight, which may be one of the reasons they turned to steroids, he said. The data came from a 2009 nationally representative survey of 8,065 ninth- through 12th –grade boys in the U.S.

Overall, 4 percent of the participants in the second study reported ever using steroids and 3 percent reported they were very underweight. Boys who perceived themselves as underweight were more likely to be victims of bullying and report more depressive symptoms which, in turn, predicted steroid use.

Clinicians working with depressed teenage boys, particularly those who think they are underweight and/or bullied based on their appearance, should be mindful of the possibility of steroid use, Blashill suggested.

"Unfortunately, there is little evidence-based research on effective therapies for steroid use among adolescent boys," he said. "However, cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven to be effective for body image concerns and could be helpful for boys considering using or already using steroids."

Article: "Body Image Distortions, Weight, and Depression in Adolescent Boys: Longitudinal Trajectories into Adulthood," Aaron J. Blashill, PhD, and Sabine Wilhelm, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Psychology of Men & Masculinity, online Dec. 23, 2013.

Article: "A Dual Pathway Model of Steroid Use Among Adolescent Boys: Results from a Nationally Representative Sample," Aaron J. Blashill, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Psychology of Men & Masculinity, online Dec. 23, 2013.

Full texts of the articles are available from the APA Public Affairs Office at 202-336-5700.

Contact: To schedule an interview with Dr. Blashill, contact Kristen Chadwick at kschadwick@partners.org or (617) 643-3907.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

Audrey Hamilton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>