The aim of the study was to establish whether any relation exists between depression symptoms and the extent to which adolescents accept the changes their bodies undergo (the physical changes they experience at different stages of growing up), and if the connection does exist - is it gender-related. Method: Data were collected from four sub-groups: younger girls (aged 12-13), older girls (aged 17-18), younger boys (aged 12-13), and older boys (aged 17-18). The participants were asked to complete questionnaires that allow to measure the subjective intensity of depression symptoms (BDI), the current stage of biological changes (the Tanner scale) and whether these changes are accepted by the individual who experiences them (the original Feelings Towards the Body questionnaire). Results: The less adolescents accept the changes in their bodies, the higher depression symptoms they demonstrate. For younger girls, older girls and older boys, no links were established between levels of accepting bodily changes and early/late maturation (in comparison with the population of their peers). For younger boys, the later the stage of their development, the less likely they are to accept the changes in their bodies. Girls report more intense depression symptoms than boys do, but their levels of accepting changes that occur around puberty are significantly lower only when compared to those of older boys. Conclusions: Whether biological changes during puberty (mainly feelings of anxiety and shame related to the body) are accepted or not, was proven to be a significant predictor of more intense depression symptoms.
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