Talking About Old Age Or Being Fat Linked To Physical And Mental Health ProblemsEditor's Choice
Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry
Also Included In: Eating Disorders
Article Date: 22 Feb 2013 - 0:00 PST
Talking About Old Age Or Being Fat Linked To Physical And Mental Health Problems
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Talking about being old is an important indicator of body dissatisfaction, in the same way that talking about being fat is, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Eating Disorders.
Body dissatisfaction is associated with a number of physical and mental health problems, such as depression, low self-esteem, and stress. So-called "fat talk" and "old talk" have been found to contribute towards feelings of body dissatisfaction. It occurs when women express distaste about the appearance of their body and wish they were either better looking, thinner, or younger.
Researchers from the University of West England and Trinity University investigated the impact of "fat-talk" and "old-talk" throughout women's lives. They surveyed a total of 1,000 women aged 18 to 87 from various parts of the world; they assessed their fat talk, old talk, body image disturbance and eating disorder pathology.
Interestingly, a previous study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly identified that it's worrying how some women believe "fat talk" to be a helpful coping mechanism when in fact it actually exacerbates body image disturbance. In addition, those who engage in fat talk on a frequent basis are more likely to have an ultra-thin body ideal than those who don't.
They found that "fat talk" and "old talk" occur throughout the majority of women's lives. In general women talk more about their weight and appearance than they do about their age. However, as they get older they tend to talk less about their weight and more about their age.
Those who reported talking about being old or fat were more likely to have a negative body image than those who didn't.
As with fat talk, old talk is associated with body image disturbance as well as eating disorder pathology.
According to Dr. Carolyn Black Becker, who led this study:
"Until now, most research has focused on the negative effects of the thin-ideal and speech, such as 'fat talk', in younger women, but we need to remember that the thin-ideal is also a young-ideal which, as our results show, becomes increasingly important to negative body image as women age."
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
Carolyn Black Becker, Phillippa C Diedrichs, Glen Jankowski and Chelsey Werchan.
Journal of Eating Disorders
23 May. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256737.php>
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