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The Peer Context of Dieting: The Relationship between Young Adults’ Dieting Frequency and Their Friends’ Weight-Related Characteristics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2004-3780
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6973-0381
Lund University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3909-1080
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5851-2584
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 15, no 12, article id 2744Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research found that weight-related behaviors and body weight tends to be similar between individuals and peers. Rather little is known how different domains of weight-related behaviors co-evolve in peer networks. Hence, this study explores how young adults’ self-reported dieting relates to perceived body weight and weight control behaviors of their peers. A Swedish two-wave panel survey with ego-centric network data was analyzed with negative binomial regression models. Nineteen-year-old men and women in the first wave, and 23-year-olds in the follow-up sample were examined. Men at age 19 showed an increased dieting propensity when being exposed to underweight peers. Compared to men, women’s dieting at age 19 was more strongly related to their own body image concerns, and peers’ weight-related behaviors like physical exercising and unhealthy eating. The associations between dieting and peers’ weight-related characteristics for men and women deteriorated from age 19 to age 23. The findings suggest that women’s dieting—in comparison to dieting in men—is more strongly related to the peer context. The decrease in associations between men’s and women’s dieting and peers’ weight-related characteristics from age 19 to age 23 may reflect a weakened importance of the peer context in early adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 15, no 12, article id 2744
Keywords [en]
dieting, ego-centric social networks, weight control behavior, early adulthood, Sweden
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162637DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15122744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-162637DiVA, id: diva2:1268167
Available from: 2018-12-05 Created: 2018-12-05 Last updated: 2018-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Miething, AlexanderRostila, MikaelEdling, ChristoferRydgren, Jens
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