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Miami University Emerging Adulthood and Societal Influences Discussion Paper

These questions will require more advanced thinking and consideration to earn full credit. Make sure to support your answers with detail, data and facts presented in the resources, along with ties to cultural and societal influences. You should also include theoretical perspectives as appropriate. You should NOT quote anything directly from any resources. Instead, you should paraphrase using your own words, and cite the source appropriately (APA citation preferred, but other citation methods will be accepted). When paraphrasing, think about how you would explain the concept or idea to a classmate or parent. Show me through your writing that you understand the ideas, not just that you can locate the concept in a reading.In the module resources, various reasons were offered for why emerging adulthood is now considered a separate stage of development. Using what you have learned (including course concepts and info), explain the idea of emerging adulthood as though you were talking to your great uncle at a family reunion. Keep in mind the following:Your uncle is describing his own young adulthood as the ideal and seems to negatively stereotype this generation of emerging adults as “lazy, unfocused wanderers with no real responsibilities”.You are using appropriate terminology to legitimize your knowledge to your uncle, but remember to explain these terms since he will not be familiar with them.Your goal is to convince your uncle that these are indeed different times (back this up with concrete info) and emerging adulthood is a valid developmental stage.Be sure to discuss how different populations have different ways of experiencing emerging adulthood (or skipping it entirely). Why is this stage relevant to you personal (or not) in comparison to other groups?You are encouraged (but not required) to be a bit creative and fun with this prompt :)reading:

Body Image 28 (2019) 53–65
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Body Image
journal homepage:
From negative to positive body image: Men’s and women’s journeys
from early adolescence to emerging adulthood夽
Kristina Holmqvist Gattario ∗ , Ann Frisén
Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
a r t i c l e
i n f o
Article history:
Received 21 June 2018
Received in revised form 6 December 2018
Accepted 6 December 2018
Available online 21 December 2018
Negative body image
Positive body image
Body appreciation
Body image development
Turning points
Qualitative research
a b s t r a c t
This study examined the developmental journeys of individuals who have overcome negative body image
in early adolescence and developed positive body image on their way to emerging adulthood. Interviews
were conducted with 15 women and 16 men (aged 26–27) recruited from a large longitudinal sample.
Results demonstrated different patterns of positive body image development, but most participants had
overcome their negative body image by age 18. Factors contributing to their negative body image in early
adolescence included negative peer influence and discontent with life in general. Turning points included
finding a new social context, experiencing agency and empowerment, and using cognitive strategies to
improve body image. Characteristics of the participants’ current positive body image coincided with
established features of positive body image; novel findings were that the women were more likely to
think of positive body image as needing constant work to maintain and were also more likely to have
a feminist identity, whereas the men were more likely to try to improve their body shape and perceive
their body as resembling the ideal. In conclusion, body image interventions need to target not only
matters related to physical appearance but also adolescents’ general sense of belonging, agency, and
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Negative body image, conceptualized as poor body esteem,
body dissatisfaction, or body shame, dramatically affects the lives
of many young people as it is linked to low overall well-being
(Meland, Haugland, & Breidablik, 2007), low self-esteem (Davison &
McCabe, 2006), depression (Ohring, Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, 2002),
and disordered eating (Westerberg-Jacobson, Edlund, & Ghaderi,
2010). Adolescence is a critical time for body image development as many of the changes during this phase in life (biological,
emotional, cognitive, as well as social) channel individuals’ attention towards their developing physical bodies. The few large-scale
longitudinal studies examining long-term body image development demonstrate that most adolescents experience a dramatic
increase in negative body image in early adolescence (Bucchianeri,
Arikian, Hannan, Eisenberg, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2013; Eisenberg,
夽 This research was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council for
Health, Working Life and Welfare (grant number 2014-1729). We thank Åsa Nordström for assisting in the data collection and the participants for sharing their stories.
∗ Corresponding author at: Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg,
Box 500, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.
E-mail address: (K.H. Gattario).
1740-1445/© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Neumark-Sztainer, & Paxton, 2006; Frisén, Lunde, & Berg, 2015)
and maintain their negative body image throughout adolescence
and into emerging adulthood (Frisén et al., 2015; Rogers, Webb, &
Jafari, 2018). Body image in emerging adulthood tends to remain
stable (Grogan, 2017). Altogether, these findings indicate that the
adolescent years are critical for many in shaping the body image
that they will subsequently carry with them into adulthood.
Although the most common developmental pattern implies
a drastic increase in negative body image in early adolescence
followed by stability into emerging adulthood, investigations of
individual trajectories demonstrate that there are also other patterns of body image development (Frisén et al., 2015; Nelson,
Kling, Wängqvist, Frisén, & Syed, 2018; Rogers et al., 2018). One
particularly interesting pattern, explored further here, pertains to
individuals who, consistent with the majority, develop negative
body image in early adolescence, but who then overcome their negative body image and develop positive body image on their journey
to emerging adulthood. We are unaware of any in-depth study of
this interesting developmental pattern, although the experiences
of individuals following this trajectory may be of particular value to
body image research, prevention, interventions, and clinical work.
Indeed, these individuals have managed to overcome a negative
body image and their experiences of their journey toward a pos-
K.H. Gattario, A. Frisén / Body Image 28 (2019) 53–65
itive body image can be helpful in distinguishing the factors that
may help turn a negative body image into a positive one.
This study will accordingly explore men and women’s development from a negative body image in early adolescence to a positive
body image in emerging adulthood. One focus of this study is to
examine the range of individual patterns of body image development that these men and women display. For example, does the
change from negative to positive body image tend to happen gradually or does it take dramatic turns and, if so, when? Answering
these questions will advance our understanding of positive body
image development and provide valuable information about the
stage at which interventions should be implemented. Another focus
is to investigate the factors underlying this pattern of development
from a negative body image in early adolescence to a positive body
image in emerging adulthood. Specifically, what contributed to
the participants’ negative body image in early adolescence? What
characterized their positive body image in emerging adulthood?
Perhaps most importantly, what were the turning points in their
development? The answers to these questions can provide valuable knowledge of the factors characterizing negative body image
that can be overcome, the factors that can help turn this negative
body image into a positive body image, and the characteristics of
positive body image that have been acquired.
Several theoretical perspectives can help us understand the
factors underlying individuals’ body image development. The dominant theoretical models (e.g., Smolak, 2012; Thompson, Coovert,
& Stormer, 1999), however, tend to focus on the risk factors
undermining body image development and do not specifically
reflect on those that may promote positive body image (Tylka
& Wood-Barcalow, 2015b). For years, it was assumed that positive body image was simply the opposite of negative body image,
and the factors assumed to promote positive body image were
therefore simply seen as the opposites of those undermining
body image (Striegel-Moore & Cachelin, 1999). However, recent
research into positive body image has provided evidence that this
picture may be too simplistic. The few studies exploring the experiences, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals with a
positive body image have been helpful in conceptualizing positive body image as featuring body appreciation, functionality
appreciation, body acceptance, inner positivity, interpreting information in a body-image–protective manner, and conceptualizing
beauty broadly (Alleva, Tylka, & Kroon Van Diest, 2017; Frisén
& Holmqvist, 2010b; Holmqvist & Frisén, 2012; Wood-Barcalow,
Tylka, & Augustus-Horvath, 2010). Yet, previous studies have not
specifically examined individuals’ journeys toward a positive body
image and have therefore not considered the factors that may help
turn a negative into a positive body image. In addition, previous
studies have focused on adolescent girls’ and young women’s experiences of having a positive body image; in fact, only one sample of
adolescent boys has previously been studied (Frisén & Holmqvist,
2010b; Holmqvist & Frisén, 2012). This indicates a lack of knowledge of young men’s positive body image and how it may differ
from young women’s. This study accordingly adds to the literature by examining patterns of positive body image development in
young men as well as women. In addition, it is the first study to
qualitatively examine what characterizes positive body image in
young men.
When it comes to understanding the factors that can promote
positive body image, specifically, theoretical models are still in their
infancy (Halliwell, 2015). Longitudinal, quantitative studies have
contributed insights into what can promote body appreciation, one
of several aspects of positive body image, which is defined as individuals’ acceptance of, favorable opinions of, and respect for their
bodies (Tylka & Wood-Barcalow, 2015b). For example, the acceptance model (Avalos & Tylka, 2006) suggests that social support
and body acceptance by others are important factors promoting
body appreciation (Andrew, Tiggemann, & Clark, 2016; AugustusHorvath & Tylka, 2011; Avalos & Tylka, 2006; Tylka & Homan, 2015).
This model emphasizes the importance of support and acceptance
from others in promoting positive body image, but it provides little
information about whether and how these aspects may play a role
in turning a negative body image into a positive one. Also, there may
be additional factors serving as turning points that are not covered
in the model. Another theoretical model, the developmental theory
of embodiment (2017, Piran & Teall, 2012; Piran, 2016), suggests that
positive embodied experiences, that is, activities that enhance the
awareness of bodily experience, connectedness with the body, and
feelings of competence, empowerment, and inclusion, can promote
positive body image. While this model has a wider scope than does
the acceptance model, a deficiency is that it was developed based on
assessments of girls and women only, and more research is needed
to evaluate the application of the embodiment construct in young
The acceptance and developmental theories of embodiment
provide a preliminary idea of factors that may turn a negative body
image into a positive one, but turning points need to be examined more thoroughly, through studies including both men and
women. To obtain a deeper understanding of men’s and women’s
journeys from negative to positive body image, it is essential to
hear the stories of the individuals who have followed this particular developmental trajectory. Their reflections on their own body
image journey can be valuable in order to identify factors with the
potential to change the path of body image development and to
understand individual body image trajectories.
1.1. Aim and research questions
The aim of this study was to examine young men and women’s
development from a negative body image in early adolescence to
a positive one in emerging adulthood. Four specific research questions guided the investigation: (a) What are the different patterns of
body image development displayed by individuals who start with
a negative body image in early adolescence and then acquire a positive one on their way to emerging adulthood?; (b) What factors
contributed to their negative body image in early adolescence?; (c)
What factors served as turning points in their body image development?; and (d) What characterized their positive body image in
emerging adulthood?
2. Method
2.1. Participants
The participants, 15 women and 16 men (Mage = 26.19,
SD = 0.48), were recruited from the longitudinal research project
MoS (Mobbning och Skola [Bullying and School]), which has studied individuals’ body image development from ages 10 to 24 years
(see, e.g., Frisén & Holmqvist, 2010a; Frisén et al., 2015; Gattario
et al., 2015; Lunde & Frisén, 2011). In the first wave, 960 10-yearolds participated (515 girls and 445 boys). There have been in total
six waves in the study, at ages 10, 13, 16, 18, 21, and 24 years.
Rates of attrition have overall been low: 91% (n = 874) of the original sample participated at age 13 years, 79% (n = 758) at age 16, 74%
(n = 715) at age 18, 64% (n = 607) at age 21, and 56% (n = 544; 302
women and 242 men) at age 24.
In this longitudinal project, body image has been assessed
using the Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA;
Mendelson, Mendelson, & White, 2001 see Measures). To recruit
participants to the present study, we used the mean score of the
BESAA Appearance and Weight subscale items, since the Attribution subscale has displayed lower reliability than have the other
two subscales (Mendelson et al., 2001). Expectation maximization
K.H. Gattario, A. Frisén / Body Image 28 (2019) 53–65
in SPSS was used to handle missing data when participants had
fewer than four missing values on the BESAA on one occasion. Those
recruited to this study met the inclusion criteria of (a) having participated in at least four of the six waves of the study, (b) having
had low body esteem in early adolescence (ages 10 and 13 years),
and (c) having high body esteem in emerging adulthood (age 24
years). Negative body image (at ages 10 and 13 years) and positive
body image (at age 24 years) were defined relative to the BESAA
scores of the larger longitudinal sample at those same ages. At each
age, all participants were divided into four quartiles ranging from
those with low body esteem (first quartile) to those with high body
esteem (fourth quartile). We defined negative body image as having a BESAA score in the first or second quartiles, that is, lower than
the median of the total sample (at age 10, < 3.46 for boys and < 3.30 for girls, and, at age 13, < 3.14 for boys and < 2.60 for girls). We defined positive body image as having a BESAA score in the fourth and highest quartile (at age 24, > 3.13 for men and > 2.96
for women). From a developmental perspective, we considered the
participants’ relative position in body esteem in relation to their
same-age peers a better indicator of their body image than using
identical cut-off points for positive and negative body image at all
For consistency, throughout this paper we refer to individuals’ negative body image ‘turning into’ a positive one; however,
negative body image and positive body image should not be considered opposites of one another, and aspects of negative body image
may co-exist with positive body image (Tylka & Wood-Barcalow,
2015b). Yet, when examining body image development over time
as in this study, it is necessary to be consistent in our conceptualizations of body image from wave to wave in order to study changes in
development. Therefore, for the recruitment of participants to this
study, we defined both negative and positive body image according
to their levels of body esteem.
In total, 25 men and 30 women met the inclusion criteria of
having had negative body image in early adolescence and having
positive body image in emerging adulthood. We set a predefined
goal of including 30 participants (15 men and 15 women) in
the study. Hence, we regularly contacted small sets of randomly
selected participants from the 25 men and 30 women until we had
achieved this goal. The final sample consisted of 16 men and 15
women. Their BESAA scores at age 10 years ranged from 1.95 to
3.89 (M = 3.18, SD = 0.52) for boys and 2.37–3.53 (M = 2.90, SD = 0.37)
for girls; at age 13 years 1.43–3.95 (M = 2.98, SD = 0.75) for boys
and 1.00–3.95 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.75) for girls; and at age 24 years
3.23–3.70 (M = 3.44, SD = 0.14) for men and 2.94–4.00 (M = 3.34,
SD = 0.34) for women. For further illustration of their body esteem
at different ages, see Figs. 1 and 2. Demographic data from age 24
years demonstrated that the participants’ highest educational level
ranged from lower secondary school (n = 1), upper secondary school
(n = 11), university degree initiated (n = 13), to university degree finished (n = 6). The majority of the participants were born in Sweden
(n = 29) and the remaining were born in other European countries
(n = 1) or in the Middle East (n = 1). Six of the participants had parents that were born in other countries than Sweden, mainly other
European countries (n = 3) and the Middle East (n = 3). Twentyfive of the participants identified as heterosexual, one as gay, four
as bisexual, and one participant preferred not to report his or her
sexual orientation.
2.2. Procedure
Eligible participants first received a written letter with information about the study. The study aim described in the information
letter was “to gain a richer understanding of people’s thoughts
and feelings about their bodies.” Participants were not informed
of their BESAA developmental pattern (i.e., that they had transi-
Fig. 1. Female participants’ body image development (as measured combining
BESAA Weight and Appearance; Mendelson et al., 2001) between ages 10 and 24
years. The median (dotted line) is from the larger longitudinal sample of participants (N = 960) from which the current sample was recruited. BESAA ranges from 0
to 4, with higher values indicating a more positive body image.
Fig. 2. Male participants’ body image development (as measured combining BESAA
Weight and Appearance; Mendelson et al., 2001) between ages 10 and 24 years. The
median (dotted line) is from the larger sample of participants (N = 960) from which
the current sample was recruited. BESAA ranges from 0 to 4, with higher values
indicating a more positive body image.
tioned from a negative to a positive body image) until right before
the fifth and final part (e) of the interview, to prevent this information from affecting how they described their body image journey.
Within a week of the participants’ receiving the information letter, we contacted them by telephone to ask whether they agreed
to take part in the study. We used the contact information they
had supplied online during their previous participation in the longitudinal study. As an incentive, participants were offered two
movie tickets as well as a book published by the authors, which
describes many of the previous findings of the longitudinal research
project (Frisén, Holmqvist Gattario, & Lunde, 2014). Written consent was collected from each participant before the interview. Most
participants were interviewed at the Department of Psychology,
University of Gothenburg, in a setting made as comfortable as possible for them. If the participants lived in another city, we arranged
to meet with them at a suitable place in their area (in total, eight
men and five women). Interviews were audio recorded and lasted
approximately 1.5 h. To ensure that the participants still had a
K.H. Gattario, A. Frisén / Body Image 28 (2019) 53–65
positive body image at the time of the interview, which occurred
approximately two years after the age 24-year time point in the longitudinal study, participants were asked to fill in measures of body
esteem and body appreciation in-between part (b) and (c) of the
interview. After the interview, there was a short debriefing where
participants were asked about how they experienced the interview
and were able to ask questions about the study. The data collection
was approved by the Regional Ethical Review Board in Gothenburg,
Sweden, project name “Bullying and Body Image – A Longitudinal
Study From Childhood to Adulthood,” protocol number T446-15.
2.3. Semi-structured interview
An interview schedule was constructed in accordance with the
guidelines provided by Smith and Osborn (2003). The interview
topics were based on the existing body image literature, but also
included parts that were more explorative. The different parts of
the interview asses…


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