A Longitudinal investigation of perceived peer influence, body dissatisfaction, and eating problems in early adolescent females

K. Rayner, C. Schniering, R. Rapee, D. Hutchinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

Abstract

The aim of this research was to examine the role of perceived peer influence on the development of body image and eating problems in young adolescent girls over time. Specifically, this research will investigate (1) whether perceived peer influence is longitudinally associated with the development of eating problems (restrictive dieting or bulimic behaviours), and (2) whether this relationship is mediated by body dissatisfaction. Participants were 1094 female students from ten girls’ high schools in New South Wales who completed a battery of questionnaires at three time points, each one-year apart (Grades Seven, Eight and Nine). The battery included measures of perceived peer influence, body dissatisfaction, bulimic behaviours, dietary restraint, body mass index, and demographic information. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputation methods. A longitudinal mediational model was then developed in order to examine the relationship between the variables of interest across the three time points. The collected measures served as indicators for the following latent variables: perceived peer influence, body dissatisfaction, dieting and bulimic behaviours. Preliminary analyses showed that the observed variables related to the latent variables as anticipated (that is, the measurement model was a good fit to the data). A comprehensive structural equation modeling approach based on statistical recommendations from the literature will be used to examine pathways between the key variables. Final results will be presented at the conference. Given that early adolescence is a high risk period for the development of body image and eating problems, and that peers become an increasingly important source of influence during this time, studying these factors in concert may provide further insight into how the development of body image and eating problems may be interrupted. If perceived peer influence contributes significantly to the development of body dissatisfaction, and, in turn, eating problems, then it is important that the peer environment is addressed in prevention and intervention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstracts of the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology
EditorsVicky Mrowinski, Michael Kyrios, Nicholas Voudouris
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherThe Australian Psychological Society
Pages1040-1041
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)9780909881467
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventInternational Congress of Applied Psychology (27th : 2010) - Melbourne
Duration: 11 Jul 201016 Jul 2010

Conference

ConferenceInternational Congress of Applied Psychology (27th : 2010)
CityMelbourne
Period11/07/1016/07/10

Keywords

  • body image
  • eating disorders
  • adolescent peer influence
  • body mass index
  • body dissatisfaction

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