Body image and the pre-pubescent child

David J Birbeck, Murray JN Drummond


Historically the development of body image concepts and associated
‘perceived body image dissatisfaction’ (PBID) has been considered a
construction that occurs at puberty. In this paper we present an overview of
issues pertinent to PBID and an analysis of eight interviews. These
interviews were conducted with girls aged between five and seven years and
support a growing body of evidence that suggests body image and PBID
occur much earlier in the developmental stages of girls than puberty. The
qualitative paradigm used in this research identifies similarities with recent
research on body image and young girls. Using inductive analysis of these
interviews and other research, we present a hypothesis that may help to
explain why significant body image concepts appear to occur during this
developmental period.

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