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In spite of copious literature investigating body dissatisfaction and its correlates in adolescents and young adult women, exploration of body image disturbances in adult women remains an underrepresented domain in the literature. Yet, there are many reasons to suspect that body image in adult women may both differ from and possibly be more complex than that of younger women. Adult women face myriad factors influencing body image beyond those delineated in the body image literature on adolescents and young adult women. For instance, ageing-related physiological changes shift the female body further away from the thin-young-ideal, which is the societal standard of female beauty. Further, life priorities and psychological factors evolve with age as well. As such, adult women encounter changes that may differentially affect body image across the lifespan. This paper aims to provide an up-to-date review of the current literature on the relationship between body image and associated mental and physical health problems and behaviours in adult women. In addition, we explore factors that may influence body image in adult women. Lastly, we use this review to identify significant gaps in the existing literature with the aim of identifying critical targets for future research.

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Advances in Eating Disorders: Theory, Research and Practice

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