Friendship clique and peer influences on body image concerns, dietary restraint, extreme weight-loss behaviors, and binge eating in adolescent girls

J Abnorm Psychol. 1999 May;108(2):255-66. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.108.2.255.


This study explored friendship variables in relation to body image, dietary restraint, extreme weight-loss behaviors (EWEBs), and binge eating in adolescent girls. From 523 girls, 79 friendship cliques were identified using social network analysis. Participants completed questionnaires that assessed body image concerns, eating, friendship relations, and psychological family, and media variables. Similarity was greater for within than for between friendship cliques for body image concerns, dietary restraint, and EWLBs, but not for binge eating. Cliques high in body image concerns and dieting manifested these concerns in ways consistent with a high weight/shape-preoccupied subculture. Friendship attitudes contributed significantly to the prediction of individual body image concern and eating behaviors. Use of EWLBs by friends predicted an individual's own level of use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Reducing* / psychology
  • Diet, Reducing* / statistics & numerical data
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Environment
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Victoria / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss