The impact of teasing and bullying victimization on disordered eating and body image disturbance among adolescents: a systematic review

Sinead Day, Kay Bussey*, Nora Trompeter, Deborah Mitchison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period in which disordered eating and negative body image are highly prevalent, yet their risk factors are insufficiently understood and targeted. Despite research implicating both teasing and bullying victimization in the development of eating disorders, these strands of research are yet to be integrated. This systematic review hence aimed to identify whether teasing and bullying victimization are associated with greater risk of eating disorders and body image disturbance for adolescents. Systematic searches of PsycINFO and PubMed databases identified 79 papers that included quantitative analyses of the relationship between weight-related or nonspecific teasing or bullying victimization and disordered eating or body image disturbance. Overall, studies indicated that adolescents who are teased or bullied are more likely to experience disordered eating and negative body image compared to nonvictimized adolescents. This was more consistently observed in cross-sectional studies than in longitudinal findings. We identify several methodological limitations of the literature, including the infrequent consideration of potential mediating and moderating variables. Finally, we outline future directions such as temporal sequencing of the complex interrelationships among teasing and bullying, disordered eating, and body image disturbance in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • bullying
  • youth violence
  • mental health and violence

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