Girls obsessed with self image drink more, says study

The study analysed responses from 6,579 female students between ages 14 to 18 and above.

A US study has found that teenage girl worrying about their figure and are trying to lose, maintain or gain their weight without any medical need are more likely to try alcohol and drink heavily.

The study also says school girls who harbour negative self-image are more likely to have had at least one drink in their life or have engaged in episodes of heavy drinking than girls of the same age without body image misperceptions.

Margie Skeer, a senior study author and Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, in Massachusetts, found out in his research.

“Negative self-image can lead to negative behaviours. Body image and behavioural misperception occurs when actions are taken based on a perceived weight status or body image,” said Skeer.

Skeer said: “We found significant relationships between this misperception and reporting ever having had alcohol, as well as reporting episodic heavy drinking among high school girls.”

In the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the researchers sought to identify whether having a body image behavioural misperception (BIBM) is associated with an increased odds of ever having had alcohol, current alcohol use or episodic heavy drinking (five or more alcoholic beverages within a couple hours).

The researchers analyzed data from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System, a national, school-based survey conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study analysed responses from 6,579 female students between ages 14 to 18 and above.

In the study, 37.5 percent reported having a BIBM; 67.7 percent of the girls had had at least one drink in their lifetime; and 17.8 percent had episodes of heavy drinking in the past 30 days.

Among high school girls with a body image behavioural misperception, the odds of ever having had alcohol was 1.21 times greater than among girls who did not have such a misperception, the findings showed.