Socialization of adolescents’ weight-related behaviors: the roles of best friend and group contagion and adolescent popularity Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Rancourt, Diana M.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • This study examined two peer relations concepts that may be relevant for understanding weight-related behaviors in adolescents: socialization and popularity. Data from 582 youth in grades 6-8 at an initial time point were used to examine best friend and friendship group socialization of weight-related behaviors, as well as the reciprocal effects of popularity on weight-related behaviors. Measures were administered at two time points and included self-report indices of body dissatisfaction, body-related cognitions, and dieting practices. Sociometric assessments were conducted to examine friendships and two forms of popularity (i.e., preference- and reputation-based). Results suggested that both best friend and friendship group socialization were important predictors of body dissatisfaction, muscle-gaining behaviors, and diet-based exercise, and that gender moderated these processes. Popularity was both an outcome and predictor of weight-related behaviors, and moderated best friend socialization of diet-based exercise. Overall, results were modest and suggest complex processes in peer socialization of weight-related behaviors.
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  • In Copyright
  • Prinstein, Mitchell J.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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