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Body Image & Weight Studies

Sociocultural Influences on Body Image and Body Changes Among Adolescent Boys and Girls.

In 2 studies, the authors evaluated the role of parents, peers, and the media in body image and body-change strategies among adolescent boys and girls.

The respondents for Study 1 (423 boys and 377 girls) completed the Body Image and Body Change Inventory (L. A. Ricciardelli & M. P. McCabe, 2002) and the Perceived Sociocultural Influences on Body Image and Body Change Questionnaire (M. P. McCabe & L. A. Ricciardelli, 2001b). Body mass index and age were also included in the analyses. Regression analyses demonstrated that sociocultural influences and feedback from the participant's best male friend were important predictors for all body-change strategies among boys. For girls, sociocultural influences and feedback from the participant's best female friend and mother were important predictors for body-change strategies. The most consistent predictor of weight loss, weight gain, and strategies to increase muscles was body-image importance.

In Study 2, the authors examined the influence of the same sociocultural variables, as well as negative affect and puberty on body image and body-change strategies among a second group of 199 boys and 267 girls. The results demonstrated that a broad range of sociocultural influences predicted body-change strategies for boys and girls, with negative affect also having a unique influence for boys but not for girls. Puberty played a minor role, once other sociocultural variables were entered into the regression equation. 2003

Source: McCabe MP, Ricciardelli LA. School of Psychology Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.

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