Body Image and the Appearance Culture Among Adolescent Girls and Boys

Body Image and the Appearance Culture Among Adolescent Girls and Boys: An Examination of Friend Conversations, Peer Criticism, Appearance Magazines, and the Internalization of Appearance Ideals.

by: Diane Carlson Jones, Thorbjorg Helga Vigfusdottir and Yoonsun Lee

This research evaluates the contributions of three dimensions of appearance culture (appearance magazine exposure, appearance conversations with friends, and peer appearance criticism) and body mass index (BMI) to internalization of appearance ideals and body image dissatisfaction. Four hundred thirty-three girls and 347 boys in Grades 7 through 10 responded to several measures on a self-report questionnaire. The results of path analyses indicated that Internalization mediated the relationship between Appearance Conversations With Friends and Body Dissatisfaction for both boys and girls. In addition, Internalization, Peer Appearance Criticism, and BMI made direct contributions to Body Dissatisfaction for boys and girls, although the strength of the relationships varied by gender. The proposed mediated relation between Appearance Magazine Exposure and Body Dissatisfaction was confirmed only for the girls. The findings provide needed information about the contributions of the peer appearance culture to internalization and body image disturbances for adolescent boys and girls.