School of Psychological Science

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Katerina Chin-A-Loy

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3277
Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1006

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Updated 28 Aug 2012

Katerina Chin-A-Loy

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The influence of early life factors on adolescent boys and girls body image satisfaction: A longitudinal study


Body image is a biopsychosocial phenomenon that shapes a critical element of our mental health. It is defined as the way in which people perceive themselves physically and the way they think others see them. A discrepancy between current self-body image perception and desired self-body image is considered to represent body dissatisfaction which in turn reflects weight and shape concerns. Self-concept is defined as the totality of characteristics that individuals attribute to themselves. Its development starts from the early stages of self-recognition when infants start constructing their knowledge about themselves and others. In adolescence, the awareness of the self is particularly intensified because of the radical physical, psychological and social changes that occur. Hence, adolescence represents an important stage for the study of these concepts. This project aims at investigating the early life social, psychological and biological factors within the family that may influence adolescents’ body image taking into account their self-concept. Longitudinal data used is from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Socio-economic characteristics, psychological factors within the family and some early biological weight-related variables are investigated as possible predictors with attention to gender differences.

Why my research is important

There is considerable cross-sectional research on body image. However, in order to identify its origins and course, longitudinal studies are needed. A more comprehensive approach to the issue will be pursued by understanding the possible associations between body image satisfaction/dissatisfaction and adolescent self-concept. This research is clinically relevant since body dissatisfaction has shown to be present in various mental disorders, such as eating disturbances, dysmorphic complaints, anxiety, depression and personality disorders.


  • SIRF
  • UIS
  • Ad-Hoc Top-Up Scholarship


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