Body image, gender role identity, and depressive symptoms in adolescent females

Gina M. Pasquale (2007)

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among gender role identity, body image and depressive symptoms with the intention of giving greater depth to our understanding of adolescent depression. Forty-nine adolescent females participated in this study. Three measures were administered to each participant in a group format: the Bern Sex Role Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and the Multidimensional Body Self Relations Questionnaire-Appearance Scales. Results of this study showed the following patterns. Body image satisfaction and depressive symptoms were not as strongly related as expected. Level of investment and focus on the body was not related to symptoms of depression. Femininity scores were not related to body satisfaction or body investment and focus. Surprisingly, both increased femininity and increased masculinity scores were related to decreased depressive symptoms. Most importantly there was no evidence to support gender role as a moderating variable between body image and depression. Instead, there was strong evidence that both body image and gender role influence depressive symptoms independently of each other, with gender role as a stronger predictor of depressive symptoms than body image. As a whole, the results suggest that when treating adolescent depression it is important to consider both gender role and body image and not assume that treatment of one will impact the other.