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Peer Victimization and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors—the Role of Intersecting Identities among New York City Youth


We investigated the intersection of sexual minority, gender, and Hispanic identities, and their interaction with peer victimization in predicting unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWCB) among New York City (NYC) youths. Using logistic regression with data from the 2011 NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, we examined the association of sexual identity, gender, ethnicity, and peer victimization (dating violence, bullying at school, electronic bullying) in predicting UWCB. Sexual minority youths, dating violence victims, and youths bullied at school had 1.97, 3.32, and 1.74 times higher odds of UWCB than their counterparts, respectively (P < 0.001). The three-way interaction terms between (i) dating violence, gender, and sexual identity and (ii) electronic bullying, gender, and sexual identity were statistically significant. The effect of dating violence on unhealthy weight control practices was strongest among sexual minority males (OR = 4.9), and the effect of electronic bullying on unhealthy weight control practices was strongest among non-sexual minority males (OR = 2.9). Sexual minority and gender identities interact with peer victimization in predicting unhealthy weight control practices among NYC youths. To limit the prevalence and effect of dating violence and electronic bullying among youths, interventions should consider that an individual’s experiences are based on multiple identities that can be linked to more than one ground of discrimination.

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We thank the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for supplying the data for the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth A. Kelvin.

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Thapa, K., Kelvin, E.A. Peer Victimization and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors—the Role of Intersecting Identities among New York City Youth. J Urban Health 94, 506–513 (2017).

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  • Bullying
  • Adolescent health
  • Disordered eating