Psychology Literature Review on Peer Pressure and its influence on females appearance schemas and body dissatisfaction

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Most past research on family influences has evaluated the role of peer pressure (particularly the best friend) in predicting various types of weight-loss strategies among their girlfriends. Very little research has investigated peer influences on the eating behaviors of adolescent females or explored strategies that may be more relevant to females (weight gain, muscle increase).


Benedikt, Wertheim, and Love (2002) and Paxton et al. (2003) found that best friends' encouragement to diet increased dieting behavior among adolescent girls. Dixon, Adair, and O'Connor (2000) also found that peer encouragement to diet (separate questions were not asked for other friends and boyfriend) was associated with both body dissatisfaction and dieting behaviors among adolescent girls. However, there was no overall association between the dieting practices of friends and those of adolescent girls, although boyfriends' dieting behavior was associated with some aspects of their girlfriends' dieting behaviors. Keel, Heatherton, Harnden, and Hornig (2001) also found that although boyfriends influenced their girlfriends' body dissatisfaction but not their eating practices, best friends had a greater influence on their girlfriends' dieting behaviors.
In contrast to these findings, Steiger, Stotland, Ghadiriam, and Whitehead (2003) found no difference among binge eaters, dieters, and no dieters in the eating concerns of family members. ...
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