Examination of a sociocultural model of disordered eating among male and female adolescents

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The study tests a version of Stice's (1994) sociocultural model of disordered eating that was modified to incorporate social comparisons. Additionally, it examines how self-reported body-mass index and perceived weight status influence associations within the model.


Questionnaires were administered in a state secondary school; the sample consisted of 250 female and 257 male adolescents aged 11–16 years.


The results supported the sociocultural model among both male and female adolescents. Perceived pressure to lose weight was directly associated with eating behaviour, as well as indirectly associated through social comparisons, internalization and body dissatisfaction. However, social comparisons were most strongly related to body dissatisfaction among adolescents who perceived themselves as overweight.


The findings indicate that models of eating disordered behaviour, developed for adolescent girls, are also appropriate for understanding this behaviour among male adolescents. The results suggest that social comparisons represent a useful addition to Stice's (1994) original model and a potentially fruitful target for interventions.

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