Our research ‘Great Expectations’ has sought to bring to the fore the extent of the daily pressures young people face to look a certain way, as well as the negative impact these can have on their emotional wellbeing, relationships, and their education and employment.
Building on these findings, ‘Great Expectations’ seeks to understand the origin of the expectations and pressures young people face to help create practical solutions to how this problem can be addressed. YMCA has interviewed more than 3,000 young people on the issue of body image.
Some key stats
- Celebrities top the list of those that individuals and groups young people felt created the expectations they feel pressured to live up to. Almost three fifths of young people (58%) identified celebrities as where the expectations and pressures to look a certain way came from.
- After those on celebrities and individuals on social media, models are the group young people identified, with 43% indicating models set the expectations and pressures to look a certain way.
- Two in five young people (40%) of young people identified their friends and 35%
identified their peers as setting the pressures and expectations on how they were
supposed to look.
- Half of young people (50%) identified TV shows and films as setting the expectations and pressures on how they should look, with a further 39% identifying magazines.
- As young people enter high school and puberty, our research has found they become much more conscious of themselves, the way they look and the world around them.
Want to do something to help a young person improve their body image? Find out more about the Be Real Body Confidence toolkit for schools.
The quantitative fieldwork for this research was conducted by YouthSight, a specialist
youth research agency. The quantitative sample consisted of 1,006 young people aged
between 11 and 16 years-old from across the UK.