There is evidence to suggest that body image dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms are related among lesbians and that the strength of this relationship may be influenced by individuals' sense of belonging to the lesbian community at each of the three layers: broad, organizational, and friendship. The broad layer provides an overarching ideology and, within this layer, individuals may not have direct contact with each other. The organizational layer is represented by groups, organizations, or activities, which exist to bring together lesbians who have a shared interest or proximity, such as lesbian support, social, or interest groups. The friendship layer refers to one's personal network of friends, and it provides general support and acceptance of oneself as a whole person. A sample of 162 self-identified Australian lesbians completed measures of body image satisfaction, depressive symptoms, and sense of belonging. Results demonstrated that sense of belonging to each layer moderated the body image dissatisfactiondepressive symptoms relationship such that the relationship weakens with increasingly higher levels of sense of belonging. Results further showed that high levels of sense of belonging to the organizational and friendship layers were particularly protective. Examining each layer of community simultaneously has shown the importance of more intimate relationships, in addition to the relationships at the broad layer. The results have significant implications for treatment interventions. Practitioners should consider ways to connect lesbians to these more intimate layers of community.
This study examined the relationship between educational year level, regional differences in adolescent girls' body image perceptions, body mass index (BMI), physical activity (PA) level, self-reported health, and dietary behaviour. Also, the role of PA behavioural regulation on body image was examined. The sample (N=732; Year 7 aged 12.23 years and Year 11 aged 16.18 years) included girls in Year 7 (n=489) and in Year 11 (n=243), recruited from 17 metropolitan and 14 rural schools in Victoria, Australia. Girls completed a self-report questionnaire. Novel outcomes from this study revealed year level and region differences in girls' body image perceptions, BMI, and health behaviours. Body dissatisfaction was associated with poorer perceived health, and health behaviours, such as low PA levels and dieting and external PA motivational orientation. Interventions are needed to promote positive body image and intrinsic motivation for PA to increase PA levels among adolescent girls living in metropolitan and rural regions of Australia.