Associations between disordered eating, internalization of beauty ideals, and self-esteem have been mainly studied in a unidirectional way. Therefore, this study explored the potential bidirectional associations between these three aspects, in a sample of 303 adolescents aged 12 to 15 (140 females and 163 males), in a 16-month longitudinal prospective study. Participants self-reported disordered eating, internalization of beauty ideals, and self-esteem. Autoregressive cross-lagged analyses showed bidirectional associations between self-esteem and disordered eating and unidirectional links between internalization of beauty ideals and disordered eating and lower self-esteem. All cross-lagged effects were equivalent across genders, except that the effect of internalization of beauty ideals at baseline on disordered eating 4 months later was higher for females. Temporal stability was moderate for all measures. These results contribute toward completing explanatory models of these problems and suggest that interventions based on the critique of esthetic ideals and on strengthening self-esteem should be implemented in early adolescence.
- Disordered eating
- Reciprocal associations