, Volume 45, Issue 9-10, pp 645-664

Social Comparison and Body Image: Attractiveness Comparisons to Models and Peers Among Adolescent Girls and Boys

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Relations among body image satisfaction and social comparisons to either same-sex peers or media models were examined in 2 studies of adolescent boys and girls. In the first study, 9th and 10th graders described their conceptions of attractiveness for same- and opposite-sex adolescents. These attractiveness attributes were then used in Study 2 in which 7th- and 10th-grade boys and girls reported on social comparisons to models/celebrities and same-sex peers. Body dissatisfaction was also assessed. The results confirmed that both same-sex peers and models/celebrities were the targets of social comparisons for physical attributes, but comparisons on personal and social attributes were more likely directed toward same-sex peers. For boys and girls, weight comparisons to both peer and model targets were primary correlates of body dissatisfaction. In addition, shape comparisons reported by the girls and facial comparisons endorsed by the boys also related to body dissatisfaction. Gender differences in social comparison indicated that girls reported more social comparisons across targets and attributes. Results are discussed in terms of the role of social comparison and peer context for body image during adolescence.