Tween Television and Peers: Reinforcing Social Agents in Early Adolescents' Body Surveillance and Self-Objectification

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Sociocultural models of body image posit that the media and peers play a role in early adolescents' body dissatisfaction. Introducing a sociocultural perspective on youth sexualization, the present three-wave panel study (N = 968, Mage = 11.30) sought to examine the role of tween television and peer appearance conversations in early adolescents' body surveillance and self-objectification over time. Special attention was given to the mediating role of media internalization in these relationships. The results showed evidence for a reciprocal interaction between media internalization and peer appearance conversations and identified this reciprocal interaction as the underlying mechanism linking tween television exposure to higher levels of body surveillance and self-objectification 1 year later. Implications for body image and media literacy programs are discussed.

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