The following pilot study explored the effects of exposure to average-weight and obese peers on social comparisons and dietary restraint in young girls. This study was based upon Trottier. Polivy, and Herman's (2007) study on the effects of exposure to peers of different weight statuses on social comparisons in female undergraduates and was adapted for use with children. Forty girls in grades 2 through 5 from three elementary schools participated under the guise that this was a study of the impact of hunger on memory. Participants were given both a picture and a written narrative about a peer who was portrayed as either average-weight or obese. The girls were then invited to eat from pre-weighed bowls of bite-sized cookies while I asked them questions about the girl in the story, after which their food intake was surreptitiously measured. The study examined whether exposure to an obese peer immediately before the provision of a snack would result in a smaller amount of cookies being consumed relative to exposure to an average-weight peer. It also examined whether dietary restraint was more evident in older versus younger study participants. I found no significant difference in cookie consumption between the average-weight and obese peer conditions. There was a small effect size for the correlation between participant age and mass of cookie consumption, indicating that dietary restraint appears to increase with age. The findings suggest that social comparisons with peers might elicit greater body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint as girls approach adolescence.
Keywords: social comparison, dietary restraint, obesity
|School:||Antioch University New England|
|School Location:||United States -- New Hampshire|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Childhood obesity, Dietary restraint, Eating behaviors, Obesity, Peer influence|
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