Body Image in Adolescent Dancers from Clothing Type and Instructor Communication

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Objective: Chronic negative body image can lead to eating disorders as well as mood, personality, and body perception disturbances for adolescent dancers. Tight- or loose-fitting clothing and criticism from authority figures influence body image in females. The study examined both clothing and criticism on body image within a dance class setting as these factors compound internalization of negative body image. The study aimed to reveal high-risk atmospheres that may breed long term eating disordered behaviors. Participants: Twenty nine female adolescent dancers from either jazz, contemporary, hip hop, or ballet classes and five adult dance instructors consented to participate after prior screening. Methods: The researcher tallied the frequency of praise and criticism from the instructors during 45-90 minute dance classes. Afterwards, the dancers responded to a demographic questionnaire and the Body Appreciation Scale (BAS); the researcher then individually assessed each dancer’s clothing. Results: There was no significant effect on body image from clothing (p=.624), and there was a negative non-significant relationship between body image and instructor criticism (p=.173). Observed peer criticism did not show any influence on body image (p=.10). Lastly, peer criticism and instructor criticism revealed a significant relationship (p<.001). Conclusions: Findings did not reflect previous data that clothing type, criticism from authority figures, and the additional variable peer criticism all affect body image in adolescents; however, current study limitations could be mitigated through further research.



Body image, Adolescents, Clothing, Criticism, Dancers