Young people who are more concerned about their physical appearance are more likely to be anxious when meeting new people.
It is well known that the social networks such as Instagram, Meta, and TikTok that young people increasingly rely on can do a lot of damage, especially to their body image. According to a study published in Body Image magazine, young people who are obsessed with their appearance are also more likely to show signs of anxiety when meeting new people.
501 British young people in the study
“Previous studies have shown that body image is associated with dating anxiety, but this was limited by the sample size,” say researchers from Malaysia, Britain, and Norway. To confirm the link between poor body image and dating anxiety, psychologists conducted their work with 501 young people in the UK.
Participants answered questions about their physical appearance, their appearance-related nervousness, and the stress of meeting new people. Among the questions that were asked were the following:
- Before going out in public do I constantly pay attention to my appearance?
- Am I always worried that when I meet someone they will find something they might say about my appearance?
More likely to be feeling lonely
The authors of the study found that poor body image and stress related to physical appearance are associated with an increased risk of suffering from dating anxiety. “These people may find it particularly difficult to date and are more likely to avoid situations and activities where their body and appearance may be scrutinized, such as dating,” explained Viren Swami, author of the paper and professor of psychology at Anglia Ruskin University.
“These issues are far from trivial for young adults. We know that high levels of dating anxiety and fear can lead to a range of mental health and behavioral problems, such as low self-esteem, loneliness, and lack of self-confidence,” he added. Also because social relationships play a key role in the psychosocial development of young people, targeted therapies could be considered to reduce dating anxiety.
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