Is friendship network weight status associated with one's own psychological well-being? It depends on one's own weight status

Paul T. Fuglestad, Melanie M. Wall, Jin Joo Shim, Marla E. Eisenberg, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on multiple theoretical perspectives (e.g., social comparison theory, reward theory, evolutionary theory), the present research examined the relations of self and friendship network weight status to body satisfaction, self-esteem, and depression. A diverse, population-based sample of adolescents completed measures of well-being and were measured for height and weight. Boys had greater self-esteem if their male friendship networks' weight status mismatched, versus matched, their own weight status (d =.23). Conversely, boys had greater body satisfaction if their female friendship networks' weight status matched, versus mismatched, their own weight status (d =.18). For girls, the relations of male and female friendship networks' weight status with well-being did not vary by one's own weight status. Evolutionary theory appears to best explain the observed patter of results, and clinicians may want to consider friends' weight status when dealing with adolescents' body satisfaction issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-424
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grant R01HL084064, by National Institute of Child Health & Human Development Grant U01HD061940-02, and by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Award T32DK083250.

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Peer influence
  • Psychological well-being

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