Original Article

Impact of Perceived Body Weight on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Levels of Young Adults in Turkey


Background: The desire to attain ideal body dimensions determined by the society causes internal pressure and negative emotional intensity in young people, and this leads to mood disorders. It was aimed to examine the relationship between university students' perceived body weights and their depression, anxiety, and stress levels.

Methods: This cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted with 950 university students at Uskudar University in Istanbul, Turkey during the 2021-2022 academic year. The Information Form and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-42) were administered online through a structured questionnaire created in Google Forms. IBM SPSS v26® software was used in the analysis of the data.

Results: 74.4% of the students were female. The mean age was 19.17±1.11 years, and the mean body mass index (BMI) was 22.12±3.87 kg/m2. The prevalence of participants’ mood disorders as ‘severe’ and ‘extremely severe’ depression was 91.2%, anxiety was 62.2% and stress was 62.3%. According to BMI, 26.1% of ‘underweight’ students and 31.5% of ‘overweight’ students perceived themselves as normal weight. And also, 23.8% of the students misjudged their body weight. Students who misjudged their body weight had higher depression levels (P=0.008).

Conclusion: There was a strong relationship between perceived body weight and depression, 1 of every 4 students misjudged their body weight. Body perception of participants who were ‘underweight’ according to BMI was in the perceptional direction of obesity and who were ‘overweight’ was in the perceptional direction of thinness. Students who were ‘normal weight’ according to BMI have a healthier body image.

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IssueVol 52 No 3 (2023) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijph.v52i3.12143
Body image Depression Anxiety Stress disorders Body mass index

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How to Cite
Hamurcu P. Impact of Perceived Body Weight on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Levels of Young Adults in Turkey. Iran J Public Health. 2023;52(3):603-611.