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Do friends share similar body image and eating problems? The role of social networks and peer influences in early adolescence

journal contribution
posted on 01.07.2007, 00:00 authored by Delyse HutchinsonDelyse Hutchinson, R M Rapee
This study examined the role of friendship networks and peer influences in body image concern, dietary restraint, extreme weight loss behaviours (EWLBs) and binge eating in a large community sample of young adolescent females. Based on girls' self-reported friendship groups, social network analysis was used to identify 173 friendship cliques. Results indicated that clique members shared similar scores on measures of dieting, EWLB and binge eating, but not body image concern. Average clique scores for dieting, EWLB and binge eating, were also correlated significantly with clique averages on measures of perceived peer influence, body mass index and psychological variables. Multiple regression analyses indicated that perceived peer influences in weight-related attitudes and behaviours were predictive of individual girls' level of body image concern, dieting, EWLB use and binge eating. Notably, an individual girl's dieting and EWLB use could be predicted from her friends' respective dieting and EWLB scores. Findings highlight the significance of the peer environment in body image and eating problems during early adolescence.

History

Journal

Behaviour research and therapy

Volume

45

Issue

7

Pagination

1557 - 1577

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

0005-7967

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, Published by Elsevier Ltd.