Teen boys fearful of being too skinny at high risk of depression

Washington, Jan. 14 (ANI): A new study has revealed that teenage boys who think they're too skinny, when they are actually a healthy weight, are at higher risk of being depressed as teens and as adults when compared to other boys, including those who think they are too heavy.

Boys who inaccurately see themselves as overweight are also more likely to be depressed than boys who think they are of average weight, but their risk is not as significant as the boys who think they are very underweight.

Another study suggested that teenage boys who feel they are underweight and report being the victim of bullying are also more likely to use steroids and feel depressed than other boys their age.

"These studies highlight the often underreported issue of distorted body image among adolescent boys," Aaron Blashill, PhD, staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, who led both studies, said.

"Teenage girls tend to internalize and strive for a thin appearance, whereas teenage boys tend to emphasize a more muscular body type. We found that some of these boys who feel they are unable to achieve that often unattainable image are suffering and may be taking drastic measures," Blashill said.

Blashill's research was based on two large, nationally representative samples of teenage boys in the U.S. The first sample included 2,139 boys who were about 16 years old in 1996 at the beginning of the study and were followed for 13 years.

The studies were published by the American Psychological Association. (ANI)