Adolescent Females' Dyadic Conversations About Body, Weight, and Appearance

J Adolesc Res. 2024 Mar;39(2):487-510. doi: 10.1177/07435584221120111. Epub 2022 Sep 1.


Body talk among adolescent females has been associated with negative outcomes, including depressed mood, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction. Yet, little work has investigated the manifestation of body talk in actual conversations between adolescent females or explored pathways through which body talk is spread (e.g., co-rumination). The present study examined body talk among adolescent female dyads (N = 23 dyads) ages 13 to 17 (Mage = 15.12) using an observational design. Reciprocally nominated dyads were recruited from a high school in the southeastern United States. Conversations between dyads were qualitatively coded using an applied thematic analysis approach. Identified themes were related to weight, appearance, and personality. Results provide insight into the social context in which sociocultural norms of weight stigma, body dissatisfaction, and eating-related psychopathology may be reinforced. Findings have implications for informing the development of interventions to reduce co-rumination of negative weight- and appearance-related body talk and to promote positive body image and healthy weight among adolescent girls.

Keywords: adolescent girls; body image; co-rumination; negative body talk.