Counseling Center

Picture of Deloach Hall Courtyard

More Information on Body Image

How does Body Image develop?

  • Many factors can impact a person's Body Image. Several factors may increase the likelihood that a person will develop a negative Body Image.
    • Having people around you who experience negative body image
    • Physical changes or acne during adolescence
    • Experiencing changes in your appearance
    • Having experienced negative comments or bullying
    • Societal and cultural pressures to look a certain way

How is a Negative Body Image maintained?

  • A negative body image is perpetuated by unhelpful appearance assumptions that may develop through various experiences. For example: "If I don't look perfect, then I look awful" or "If I am ugly, then I have no value in life." These assumptions often cause distress and are inflexible.
  • Although past experiences may influence the development of a negative body image, current events could also trigger certain assumptions. Often these triggers will be linked to your appearance in some way. Some examples are:
    • Someone makes a direct or indirect negative comment about your appearance
    • Perceived or actual rejection from others
    • Exposure to perceived "attractive people" through magazines, TV, etc…
    • Situations where other's attention may be on you or where your appearance may be evaluated
  • Following a trigger, you are likely to engage in different strategies to improve your perceived flaw, protect yourself from negative evaluation from others, or control your distress. You may become preoccupied with your appearance, engage in checking and reassurance seeking, make negative predictions about how others will respond to you, and engage in avoidance behaviors.

What Can I Do Now?