Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 1024–1037 | Cite as

The Effects of Gender and Family, Friend, and Media Influences on Eating Behaviors and Body Image During Adolescence

  • Rheanna N. Ata
  • Alison Bryant LuddenEmail author
  • Megan M. Lally
Original Paper


The current study expands upon body image research to examine how gender, self-esteem, social support, teasing, and family, friend, and media pressures relate to body image and eating-related attitudes and behaviors among male and female adolescents (N = 177). Results indicated that adolescents were dissatisfied with their current bodies: males were concerned with increasing their upper body, whereas females wanted to decrease the overall size of their body. Low self-esteem and social support, weight-related teasing, and greater pressures to lose weight were associated with adolescents’ negative body esteem, body image, and eating attitudes. Females displayed more high risk eating behaviors—which were associated with more psychosocial risk factors—than males, whose high risk attitudes and behaviors were only associated with low parental support and greater pressure to be muscular. Reducing adolescents’ perceptions of appearance-related pressure from family and friends may be key for enhancing body image and decreasing links between low self-esteem and negative eating behaviors and weight-related perceptions.


Body image Weight and muscle concerns Eating attitudes and behaviors Gender differences Sociocultural influences 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rheanna N. Ata
    • 1
  • Alison Bryant Ludden
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan M. Lally
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentCollege of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA

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