Skip to main content


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

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.

Corresponding author
1 Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All
Abraham, S., Boyd, C., Lal, M., Luscombe, G. & Taylor, A. (2009) Time since menarche, weight gain and body image awareness among adolescent girls: onset of eating disorders? Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 30(2), 8994.
Al Sabbah, H., Vereecken, C. A., Elgar, F. J., Nansel, T., Aasvee, K. & Abdeen, Z. (2009) Body weight dissatisfaction and communication with parents among adolescents in 24 countries: international cross-sectional survey. BioMed Central Public Health 9, 52.
Al Subaie, A. (2000) Some correlates of dieting behaviour in Saudi schoolgirls. International Journal of Eating Disorders 28, 242246.
Alsaker, F. D. & Flammer, A. (2006) Pubertal maturation. In Jackson, S. & Goossens, L. (eds) Handbook of Adolescent Development. Psychology Press, New York.
Altabe, M. & Thompson, J. K. (1990) Menstrual cycle, body image, and eating disturbance. International Journal of Eating Disorders 9(4), 395401.
Baca-Garcia, E., Diaz-Sastres, C., Ceverino, A., Perez-Rodriguez, M. M., Navarro-Jimenez, R., Lopez-Castroman, J. et al. (2010) Suicide attempts among women during low estradiol/low progesterone states. Journal of Psychiatric Research 44(4), 209214.
Bair, A., Steele, J. R. & Mills, J. S. (2014) Do these norms make me look fat? The effect of exposure to others’ body preferences on personal body ideals. Body Image 11, 275281.
Barker, E. T. & Galambos, N. L. (2003) Body dissatisfaction of adolescent girls and boys: risk and resource factors. Journal of Early Adolescence 23, 141165.
Bogin, B. (2005) Patterns of Human Growth, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Carr-Nangle, R. E., Johnson, W. G., Bergeron, K. C. & Nangle, D. W. (1994) Body image changes over the menstrual cycle in normal participants. International Journal of Eating Disorders 16, 267273.
Cash, T. F. & Pruzinsky, T. (1990) Body Images: Development, Deviance, and Change. Guilford Press, New York.
Cash, T. F. & Smolak, L. (2011) Understanding body images: historical and contemporary perspectives. In Cash, T. F. & Smolak, L. (eds) Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention, 2nd edn. Guilford Press, New York, pp. 312.
Cash, T. F. & Szymanski, M. L. (1995) The development and validation of the Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire. Journal of Personality Assessment 64(3), 466477.
Cohn, L. D., Adler, N. E., Irwin, C. E., Millstein, S. G., Kegeles, S. M. & Stone, G. (1987) Body-figure preferences in male and female adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 96, 276279.
Cole, T. J., Bellizzi, M. C., Flegal, K. M. & Dietz, W. H. (2000) Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. British Medical Journal 320, 12401243.
Cole, T. J., Flegal, K. M., Nicholls, D. & Jackson, A. A. (2007) Body mass index cut offs to define thinness in children and adolescents: international survey. British Medical Journal 335, 194201.
de Guzman, N. S. & Nishina, A. (2013) A longitudinal study of body dissatisfaction and pubertal timing in an ethnically diverse adolescent sample. Body Image 11, 6871.
Duncan, P. D., Ritter, P. L., Dornbusch, S. M., Gross, R. T. & Carlsmith, J. M. (1985) The effects of pubertal timing on body image, school behavior and deviance. Journal of Youth & Adolescence 14(3), 227235.
Fan, X., Miller, B. C., Park, K., Winward, B. W., Christensen, M. & Grotevant, H. D. (2006) An exploratory study about inaccuracy and invalidity in adolescent self-report surveys. Field Methods 18, 223244.
Farage, M. A., Neill, S. & MacLea, A. B. (2009) Physiological changes associated with the menstrual cycle: a review. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey 64(1), 5872.
Faratian, B., Gaspar, A., O'Brien, P. M. S., Johnson, I. R., Filshie, G. M. & Prescott, R. (1984) Premenstrual syndrome: weight, abdominal swelling, and perceived body image. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 150, 200204.
Graber, J. A., Brooks-Gunn, J. & Warren, M. P. (2006) Pubertal effects on adjustment in girls: moving from demonstrating effects to identifying pathways. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 35, 391401.
Grogan, S. (2008) Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women, and Children, 2nd edn. Routledge, New York.
Hall, J. E. (2014) Neuroendocrine control of the menstrual cycle. In Strauss III, J. F. & Barbieri, R. (eds) Yen and Jaffe’s Reproductive Endocrinology and Clinical Management, 7th edn. Elsevier Saunders, pp. 141157.
Helverson, N. (2013) The relation between self-compassion, body image, and mood: how do women internalize weight-related feedback? PCOM Psychology Dissertations Paper 272.
Higgins, E. T. (1987) Self-discrepancy: a theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review 94(3), 319340.
Hillard, P. J. A. (2008) Menstruation in adolescents: what's normal, what's not. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1135, 2935.
Holsen, I., Kraft, P. & Roysamb, E. (2001) The relationship between body image and depressed mood in adolescence: a 5-year longitudinal panel study. Journal of Health Psychology 6, 613627.
Hrabosky, J. I., Cash, T. F., Veale, D., Neziroglu, F., Soll, E. A., Garner, D. M. et al. (2009) Multidimensional body image comparisons among patients with eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and clinical controls: a multisite study. Body Image 6, 155163.
Jappe, L. M. & Gardner, R. M. (2009) Body-image perception and dissatisfaction throughout phases of the female menstrual cycle. Perceptual and Motor Skills 108, 7480.
Jones, J. M., Bennett, S., Olmsted, M. P., Lawson, M. L. & Rodin, G. (2001) Disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in teenaged girls: a school-based study. Canadian Medical Association Journal 165, 547552.
Kaczmarek, M. (2001) Longitudinal study of adolescent growth and biological maturation. Acta Medica Auxologica 33(3), 516.
Kaczmarek, M. (2012) Growth spurt in height and menarcheal onset in urban girls. In Hermanussen, M., Lieberman, L. S., Janewa, V. S., Scheffler, C., Ghosh, A. A. et al. Diversity in Auxology: Between Theory and Practice. Anthropologisher Anzeiger 69(2), 160.
Kaczmarek, M. & Durda, M. (2011) Variation in the body image perceptions of adolescent females and males and underlying social and cultural settings. In Kaczmarek, M. (ed.) Health and Well-Being in Adolescence. Part One: Physical Health and Subjective Well-Being. Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznań, pp. 225243.
Kaplovitz, P. B. & Oberfield, S. E. (1999) Reexamination of the age limit for defining when puberty is precocious in girls in the United States: implications for evaluation and treatment. Paediatrics 104(4), 936941.
Kikuchi, H., Nakatani, Y., Seki, Y., Yu, X., Sekiyama, T., Sato-Suzuki, I. & Arita, H. (2010) Decreased blood serotonin in the premenstrual phase negative mood in healthy women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology 31(2), 8389.
Knussmann, R. (1988/1992) Anthropologie, Handbuch der vergleichenden Biologie des Menschen, Band 1. Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 232285.
Kostanski, M. & Gullone, E. (1998) Adolescent body image dissatisfaction. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 39(32), 255262.
Latzer, Y., Tzischinsky, O. & Asaiza, F. (2007) Disordered eating related behaviors among Arab schoolgirls in Israel: an epidemiological study. International Journal of Eating Disorders 40, 263270.
Lien, L., Dalgard, F., Heyerdahl, S., Thoresen, M. & Bjertness, E. (2006) The relationship between age of menarche and mental distress in Norwegian adolescent girls and girls from different immigrant groups in Norway: results from an urban city cross-sectional survey. Social Science & Medicine 63, 285295.
McCabe, M. P. & Ricciardelli, L. A. (2004) A longitudinal study of pubertal timing and extreme body change behaviors among adolescent boys and girls. Adolescence 39, 145166.
McPherson, M. E. & Korfine, L. (2004) Menstruation across time: menarche, menstrual attitudes, experiences, and behaviors. Women’s Health Issues 14, 193200.
Mann, C. J. (2003) Observational research methods. Research design II: cohort, cross sectional, and case-control studies. Emergency Medicine Journal 20, 5460.
Mäkinen, M., Puukko-Viertomies, L-R., Lindberg, N., Siimes, M. A. & Aalberg, V. (2012) Body dissatisfaction and body mass in girls and boys transitioning from early to mid-adolescence: additional role of self-esteem and eating habits. BMC Psychiatry 12, 3543.
Menzel, J. E., Schaefer, L. M., Burke, N. L., Mayhew, L. L., Brannicki, M. T. & Thompson, J. K. (2010) Appearance-related teasing, body dissatisfaction, and disorded eating: a meta-analysis. Body Image 7(4), 261270.
Michael, S. L., Wentzel, K., Elliott, M. N., Dittus, P. J., Kanouse, D. E., Wallander, J. L. et al. (2014) Parental and peer factors associated with body image discrepancy among fifth-grade boys and girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 43(1), 1529.
Mirza, N. M., Davis, D. & Yanovski, J. A. (2005) Body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and overweight among inner-city Hispanic children and adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health 36(3), 267275.
Mousa, T. Y., Mashal, R. H., Al-Domi, H. A. & Jibril, M. A. (2010) Body image dissatisfaction among adolescent schoolgirls in Jordan. Body Image 7, 4650.
Muris, P., Meesters, C., van de Blom, W. & Mayer, B. (2005) Biological, psychological and sociocultural correlates of body change strategies and eating problems in adolescent boys and girls. Eating Behaviors 6, 1120.
Nowakowski, S., Haynes, P. & Parry, B. L. (2010) Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. In Fink, G. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Stress. Elsevier Inc., pp. 173179.
O’Dea, J. & Abraham, S. (1999) Onset of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in early adolescence: interplay of pubertal status, gender, weight, and age. Adolescence 34(136), 671679.
Ojala, K., Vereecken, C., Välimaa, R., Currie, C., Villberg, J., Tynjälä, J. & Kannas, L. (2007) Attempts to lose weight among overweight and non-overweight adolescents: a cross-national survey. International Journal of Behavioral and Nutritional Physical Activity 4, 5060.
Paxton, S. J., Eisenberg, M. E. & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2006a) Prospective predictors of body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls and boys: a five-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 42(5), 888899.
Paxton, S. J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P. J. & Eisenberg, M. E. (2006b) Body dissatisfaction prospectively predicts depressive mood and low self-esteem in adolescent girls and boys. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 35, 539549.
Pelegrini, A., da Silva Coqueiro, R., Beck, C. C., Debiasi Ghedin, K., da Silva Lopes, A. & Petroski, E. L. (2014) Dissatisfaction with body image among adolescent students: association with socio-demographic factors and nutritional status. Ciêncassaúdecoletiva 19(4), 12011208.
Petroski, E. L., Velho, N. M. & De Bem, M. F. L. (1999) Menarche age and satisfaction with body weight. Revue Brasiliera Cineantropometrica Desempenho Humana 1(1), 3036.
Presnell, K., Bearman, S. & Stice, E. (2004) Risk factors for body dissatisfaction in adolescent boys and girls: a prospective study. International Journal of Eating Disorders 36, 389401.
Racine, S. E., Culbert, K. M., Keel, P. K., Sisk, C. L., Burt, S. A. & Klump, K. L. (2012) Differential associations between ovarian hormones and disordered eating symptoms across the menstrual cycle in women. International Journal of Eating Disorders 45, 333344.
Regional Data Bank of the Central Statistical Office (2008) URL:
Romans, S. E., Kreindler, D., Asllani, E., Einstein, G., Laredo, S., Levitt, A. et al. (2012) Mood and the menstrual cycle. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 82(1), 5360.
Rosenfield, R. L., Lipton, R. B. & Drum, M. L. (2009) Thelarche, pubarche, and menarche attainment in children with normal and elevated body mass index. Pediatrics 123(1), 8488.
Schroeder, B., Hillary, P. J. A., Omar, H. A. & Swedler, J. (2002) Roundtable discussion. Challenges in pubertal development. Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology 15, 245250.
Sembulingan, K. & Sembulingan, P. (2014) Essentials of Medical Physiology, 6th edn. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd., pp. 482492.
Siegel, J. M., Yancey, A. K., Aneshensel, C. S. & Schuler, R. (1999) Body image, perceived pubertal timing, and adolescent mental health. Journal of Adolescent Health 25, 155165.
Smolak, L. (2009) Risk factors in the development of body image, eating problems, and obesity. In Smolak, L. & Thompson, J. K. (eds) Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth, 2nd edn. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. pp. 135155.
Soh, N. L., Touyz, S. W. & Surgenor, L. J. (2006) Eating and body image disturbances across cultures: a review. European Eating Disorders Review 14, 5465.
Staničić, A. & Jokić-Bergić, N. (2010) Psychophysical characteristics of the premenstrual period. Collegium Anthropologicum 34(4), 14211425.
Stice, E. & Bearman, S. K. (2001) Body image and eating disturbances prospectively predict increases in depressive symptoms in adolescent girls: a growth curve analysis. Developmental Psychology 37, 597607.
Stice, E., Hayward, C., Cameron, R. P., Killen, J. D. & Taylor, C. B. (2000) Body-image and eating disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents. A longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 109(3), 438444.
Stice, E. & Whitenton, K. (2002) Risk factors for body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls: a longitudinal investigation. Developmental Psychology 38(5), 669678.
Stunkard, A. J., Sorenson, T. & Schulsinger, F. (1983) Use of the Danish Adoption Register for the study of obesity and thinness. In Kety, S. S., Rowland, L. P., Sidman, R. L. & Matthysse, S. W. (eds) Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders. Raven Press, New York, pp. 115120.
Talen, M. R. & Mann, M. M. (2009) Obesity and mental health. Primary Care 36(2), 287305.
Tang, C. S-K., Yeung, D. Y-L. & Lee, A. M. (2003) Psychosocial correlates of emotional responses to menarche among Chinese adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescent Health 33, 193201.
Tanner, J. M. (1962) Growth and Adolescence, 2nd edn. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
Teixeira, A. L. S., Fernandes, J. V., Maques, F. A. D., Lacio, M. L. & Dias, M. R. (2012) Influence of different phases of menstrual cycle on flexibility of young women. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte 18, 361364.
Thompson, J. K. & Altabe, M. N. (1991) Psychometric qualities of the Figure Rating Scale. International Journal of Eating Disorders 10, 615619.
Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L. J., Altabe, M. & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (1999) Exacting Beauty: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment of Body Image Disturbance. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Thompson, J. K. & Smolak, L. (2001) Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment. American Psychological Association, Washington DC.
Toffoletto, S., Lanzenberger, R., Gingnell, M., Sundstörm-Poromaa, I. & Comasco, E. (2014) Emotional and cognitive functional imaging of estrogen and progesterone effects in the female human brain: a systematic review. Psychoneuroendocrinology 50(1), 2852.
van den Berg, P. A., Mond, J., Eisenberg, M., Ackard, D. & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2010) The link between body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in adolescents: similarities across gender, age, weight status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Journal of Adolescent Health 47(3), 290296.
Williams, J. M. & Currie, C. (2000) Self-esteem and physical development in early adolescence: pubertal timing and body image. Journal of Early Adolescence 20(2), 129149.
WHO Task Force on Adolescent Reproductive Health (1986) World Health Organization multicenter study on menstrual and ovulatory patterns in adolescent girls: II. Longitudinal study on menstrual patterns in the early post-menarcheal period, duration of bleeding episodes and menstrual cycles. Journal of Adolescent Health Care 7, 236244.
World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki (2001) Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 79(4), 373374.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 83 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 502 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.