Despite evidence that middle adolescent girls (ages 14–17) experience more body dissatisfaction than early adolescent girls (ages 10–13) or boys at these ages, researchers have rarely considered whether such differences are observed regarding factors related to body dissatisfaction, particularly within non-Western samples. To address this issue, gender and age group differences in media and interpersonal influences on body dissatisfaction were assessed among early and middle adolescents living in Chongqing, China. In Study 1, 595 boys and 648 girls completed self report measures of demographics, public self-consciousness and appearance-based social pressure, comparisons, and conversations. Compared to boys, girls reported more appearance pressure from mass media and close interpersonal networks (friends, family), appearance comparisons with peers, and appearance conversations with friends; these effects were qualified by interactions with age group, indicating media and interpersonal factors were more prominent in the lives of middle adolescent girls than other groups. Effects were observed independent of body mass index (BMI) and public self-consciousness. In Study 2, 738 girls and 661 boys completed the same measures and a body dissatisfaction scale. By and large, gender and age differences were replicated. Middle adolescent girls also reported more body dissatisfaction than peers did. Perceived appearance pressure from mass media and interpersonal ties were both implicated in mediation analyses to explain this gender × age group effect.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 25, 2011
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