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Nude life drawing classes 'could help boost teenagers' body image'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 10/09/2018 Jacob Jarvis

a person sitting on a wooden chair © Provided by Independent Print Limited Drawing nude models could help self-conscious teens become happier with their bodies, according to new research.

A study saw 14 teenagers aged 16 to 18 take part in life drawing sessions over three weeks and at the end of this questionnaires suggested their body image improved.

Before the classes they answered questions about their body image, the importance they placed on their appearance and their self-esteem.

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Following the sessions they answered these queries again and scores for three key aspects of body image had gone up.

At the same time the importance the young people attached to their appearance was reduced.

Related: The 4 Types of Phrases That Will Bring Down Your Daughter's Self-Esteem (Provided by Popsugar)

Professor Viren Swami, from Anglia Ruskin University, said: "Previous studies with adults have shown that life drawing has a positive effect on body image.

"It's encouraging to see the same may be the case for adolescents as well.

"Negative body image is a real public health concern in young people, particularly because of its association with disordered eating and poorer psychological well-being.

"Regular life drawing classes have the potential not only to promote a more positive body image, but also to develop more realistic notions of what bodies look like."

He added that for girls life drawing challenged the idea that the perfect body was thin – while boys no longer assumed that they had to be muscular to be attractive.

Study participants also became more respectful of other people's appearance.

paint100918b © Provided by Independent Print Limited paint100918b "They were less judgmental about other people they might meet, or how they treat their bodies, what they do with their bodies, or how they clothe their bodies," said Prof Swami.

It had been shown by previous academia that around half of all young girls and 35 per cent of boys were dissatisfied with their bodies, the professor added.

The three aspects of body image improved by life drawing were appreciation, acceptance and pride.

These related to respecting, feeling good about, and taking care of your body.

The research, reported in Empirical Studies of the Arts, will be discussed this week at the British Science Festival in Hull.

Related: 20 Ways to Change the Way You Think About Your Body (Provided by Eat This, Not That!)


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