The Longitudinal Associations of Body Dissatisfaction with Health and Wellness Behaviors in Midlife and Older Women

Lisa Smith Kilpela, Savannah C. Hooper, Casey L. Straud, Victoria B. Marshall, Christina L. Verzijl, Tiffany M. Stewart, Taylur T. Loera, Carolyn Black Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emerging research suggests that body dissatisfaction (BD) is prevalent among midlife and older women (i.e., upwards of 70%). Cross-sectionally, BD is associated with myriad poor health and wellness outcomes (e.g., depression, disordered eating, bad nutrition) in midlife/older women. However, relatively few studies have examined the longitudinal relations between BD and health outcomes in this population. This preliminary study investigated the longitudinal associations of BD with wellbeing and health-related quality of life (QOL) among midlife/older adult women over one year. Participants (n = 86, women aged 40–72 years, M = 51.49, SD = 7.34, 86% white) completed self-report measures of BD, psychosocial impairment, health behaviors, and QOL at baseline (T1) and 12-month follow-up (T2). A series of multiple linear regression models included T1 BD as the predictor variable of health outcomes at T2, covarying for T1 BMI and age in all models. BD was associated with greater negative emotions and psychosocial impairment, less physical activity enjoyment, and poorer physical, psychological, and social QOL one year later. Findings suggest that BD is associated with negative consequences for women across the lifespan (ƒ2 ranges = 0.06–0.60). Future research investigating BD as a unique, modifiable risk factor for health outcomes among diverse samples of midlife/older women is warranted. Targeting BD in interventions may improve health indices beyond eating disorders for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7143
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • body dissatisfaction
  • mental health
  • midlife
  • older women
  • quality of life
  • wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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