Why do adolescent girls watch their weight? An interview study examining sociocultural pressures to be thin

J Psychosom Res. 1997 Apr;42(4):345-55. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(96)00368-6.


Body concerns, dieting, and weight watching were examined in 30 year 10 adolescent girls. Semistructured interviews consisting of open-ended and rated questions assessed descriptions of and reasons for weight loss attempts, with an emphasis on noting sociocultural influences. Audiotaped and transcribed interviews were assessed for themes, coded and rated. Findings suggested a strong role of sociocultural influences leading to both unhealthy and healthy body attitudes and eating behaviors. Media and fashion were reported to exert the strongest pressures to be thin for subjects. While a few subjects reported direct pressures to diet from friends and parents, indirect social influences were more common. These influences included social comparison, joint dieting and avoidance of social disapproval.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Body Weight*
  • Culture*
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Media
  • Parents