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THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN MENSTRUAL CYCLE CHARACTERISTICS AND PERCEIVED BODY IMAGE: A CROSS-SECTIONAL SURVEY OF POLISH FEMALE ADOLESCENTS

  • Maria Kaczmarek (a1) and Sylwia Trambacz-Oleszak (a1)
Summary

The increasing prevalence of negative body perceptions among adolescent girls and the tendency towards wishing to be thinner have become a cultural norm in Western culture. Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to developing a negative body image due to physical and sexual changes occurring during puberty. This study aimed to evaluate the association between different measures of body image perceptions and different phases of the menstrual cycle after controlling for weight status and other potential confounders in Polish adolescent girls aged 12–18 years. Three-hundred and thirty participants of a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2009, normally cycling and with no eating disorders, completed a background questionnaire and the Stunkard Figure Rating Scale, and their anthropometric measurements were collected. The dependent outcome variables were measures of body image (actual body image, ideal body image and ideal-self discrepancy) and dichotomous body image perception (satisfied versus dissatisfied) adjusted for other predictor factors: socio-demographic variables, menstrual history and cycle phases, and weight status. One-way ANOVA indicated that weight status, age at menarche and menstrual cycle phase were associated with actual body image and rate of ideal-self discrepancy. Ideal body image was associated with weight status and menstrual cycle phase. General logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of body dissatisfaction and all potential predictor variables. The final selected model of the multiple logistic regression analysis using the backward elimination procedure revealed that adjusted for other factors, negative body image was significantly associated with different phases of the menstrual cycle (p trend=0.033) and increasing body weight status (p trend=0.0007). The likelihood of body dissatisfaction was greatest during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle (OR=2.38; 95% CI 1.06, 5.32) and among girls in obesity class I (OR=8.04; 95% CI 2.37, 27.26). The study confirmed the association between body image dissatisfaction in adolescent girls and different phases of the menstrual cycle after controlling for weight status. The issue of negative body self-image is not only of cognitive, but also of practical value as understanding better the factors contributing to the formation of a negative body image may be instrumental in developing preventive health programmes targeted at young people.

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Corresponding author
1 Corresponding author. Email: makac@amu.edu.pl
References
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