Are body perceptions and perceived appearance judgments by others linked to stress and depressive symptoms?

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© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Body dissatisfaction has consistently been linked to depressive symptoms. We posit stress as a pathway, with differential links to two aspects of body esteem, including body dissatisfaction and evaluations attributed to others about one's body and appearance. The Trier Social Stress Test was administered, and cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress and survey data (perceived chronic stress, self-reported body esteem, and depressive symptoms) were assessed in 57 undergraduates (28F). Chronic stress mediated the association between body image and depressive symptoms. These findings support stress as a pathway by which poor self-image gets “under the skin” to negatively affect health.

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