Body Image and Body Change Strategies Within Friendship Dyads and Groups: Implications for Adolescent Appearance-based Rejection Sensitivity

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Abstract

Appearance-based rejection sensitivity (appearance-RS) consists of concerns about, and expectations of, rejection because of one's appearance (Park). This study examined dyadic- and group-level friendship characteristics as correlates of early adolescents' appearance-RS. Using subgroups of an initial sample of 380 participants, appearance-RS was examined within best friend relationships (N = 132, Mage= 13.84) and friendship groups (N = 186, Mage= 13.83). Overall, best friends were similar in their appearance-RS, body dissatisfaction, restrictive dieting, appearance-conditional self-worth, appearance values, and self-rated attractiveness. Similarities between individuals and their friendship groups were consistent with the findings for dyads, except for self-rated attractiveness and dieting. Appearance-RS was higher in adolescents whose best friends and friendship groups reported greater restrictive dieting and appearance-conditional self-worth. In general, associations did not differ for boys and girls, but having a higher proportion of boys in the friendship group was associated with lowered appearance concerns.

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