Peer harassment and disordered eating

Int J Adolesc Med Health. Apr-Jun 2008;20(2):155-64. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2008.20.2.155.


In this paper, we review existing literature regarding peer harassment and its association with a range of weight-related attitudes and behaviors. We conceptualize peer harassment to include traditionally defined bullying behavior, other social and relational forms of bullying, as well as teasing and other verbal harassment. Weight-based teasing is particularly relevant to weight-related issues and has been associated with clinical eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and weight-related attitudes, such as body dissatisfaction. Studies using both clinical samples of eating disorder patients and general samples of college students or adolescents have demonstrated these relations. Emerging issues in this field, including teasing by family members, research with males, teasing and weight-related issues in developing countries, and the measurement of teasing experience are also discussed. Interventions with healthcare providers, parents, school personnel, and policy can contribute to the prevention of teasing and its associated weight-related attitudes and behaviors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Agonistic Behavior
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Behavior*