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The association between peer relations, eating behaviors, and body esteem in adolescent girls

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The association between peer relations, eating behaviors, and body esteem in adolescent girls

Lieberman, Melissa (2000) The association between peer relations, eating behaviors, and body esteem in adolescent girls. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the association between peer relations, eating behaviors, and body esteem in a sample of 876 adolescent girls ( M age = 14 years). Participants completed questionnaires assessing peer pressure about weight and appearance (i.e., social reinforcement & peer modeling), body esteem, dieting and bulimia, weight and appearance related teasing, self esteem and peer nominations of social rejection, popularity and teasing. Weight and height measurements were taken to calculate BMI. The Composite Social Map (CSM) procedure was used to determine clique membership and status. Data were analyzed at the level of the clique, the friendship pair, and the individual. For cliques, results indicated that nuclear cliques were characterized by higher mean levels of peer pressure than secondary and peripheral cliques. Girls in cliques with higher social reinforcement, higher peer modeling, and an earlier average age of menarche, reported higher dietary restraint. For bulimia, higher reports of social reinforcement were associated with higher levels of bulimic behavior. Girls in high pressure cliques with low general self esteem, low body esteem, and high body-shape teasing were more likely to report problematic eating behaviors. For best friend pairs, high between-pair associations were found for average popularity, social rejection, and age of first date, followed by perceptions of peer pressure. Further, dieting was a more common shared characteristic among best friend pairs than bulimic behavior. At the level of the individual, involvement in a close friendship, high opposite-sex relational esteem, severe weight and body-shape teasing, peer pressure about weight and appearance, externalized self-perceptions, and peer attributions about the importance of weight and appearance for popularity and dating were important predictors of problematic eating behaviors. A more complete relational model should also include family variables. These data point to the need for developing and implementing multilevel interventions. Prevention should focus on decreasing pressure by peers to be thin, increasing self and body esteem, and combating weight and body-shape related teasing within the school system

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Lieberman, Melissa
Pagination:xiii, 267 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):White, Donna
ID Code:1249
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:19
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