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Internet Use Associated Body-Surveillance Among Female Adolescents: Assessing the Role of Peer Networks

Abstract

Body-surveillance is a core element of self-objectification, which has been recognized as a health hazard, particularly in female adolescents. Although the role of peers in self-objectification has been documented, the utility of ego-centered network approach has not been demonstrated. Using an online sample of 211 Croatian female adolescents, this study explored whether structural characteristics of self-reported networks (composed of same-sex peers one has discussed sexuality with) moderated the relationship between the use of social networking sites (SNS) and body-surveillance. Controlling for parental monitoring and accounting for self-esteem—which was negatively associated with adolescent body-surveillance—smaller network size amplified the association between SNS use and body-surveillance. Apart from confirming the overlap between offline and online peer networks in shaping adolescent body image concerns, this study’s findings suggest that adolescent women who frequently use SNS and those with fewer close friends are more vulnerable to social media-related body-objectification than their peers.

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Acknowledgements

This work has been fully supported by Croatian Science Foundation Grant #9221.

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Correspondence to Marko Lucić.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Brajdić Vuković, M., Lucić, M. & Štulhofer, A. Internet Use Associated Body-Surveillance Among Female Adolescents: Assessing the Role of Peer Networks. Sexuality & Culture 22, 521–540 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-017-9480-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-017-9480-4

Keywords

  • Female adolescents
  • Ego-centered social networks
  • Social networking sites
  • Body-surveillance
  • Self-objectification
  • Self-esteem