Purpose: To examine the relationship of family, friend, and media factors on weight-control group membership at 15 years separately and in a combined model. Methods: Subjects included 166 15 year girls. Latent class analysis identified four patterns of weight-control behaviors: non-dieters, lifestyle, dieters, and extreme dieters. Family (family functioning, priority of the family meals, maternal/paternal weight-teasing, and mother’s/father’s dieting), friend (weight-teasing and dieting), and media variables (media sensitivity and weekly TV time) were included as predictors of weight-control group membership. Results: Family functioning and priority of family meals predicted membership in the Extreme Dieters group, and maternal weight-teasing predicted membership in both dieters and extreme dieters. Friend’s dieting and weight-teasing predicted membership in both dieters and extreme dieters. Media sensitivity was significantly associated with membership in lifestyle, dieters, and extreme dieters. In a combined influence model with family, friend, and media factors included, the following remained significantly associated with weight-control group membership: family functioning, friends’ dieting, and media sensitivity. Conclusion: Family, friends, and the media are three sources of sociocultural influence, which play a role in adolescent girls’ use of patterns of weight-control behaviors; family functioning was a protective factor, whereas friend’s dieting and media sensitivity were risk factors. These findings emphasize the need for multidimensional interventions, addressing risk factors for dieting and use of unhealthy weight-control behaviors at the family, peer, and community (e.g., media) levels.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health