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 The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>