Factors Influencing Body Image During Adolescence

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Body Image, Adolescent Girl, Binge Eating, Body Dissatisfaction, Acculturative Stress

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Recent research has implicated a number of developmental (e.g., pubertal timing), psychological (e.g., self-esteem), and sociocultural (e.g., culturally defined and transmitted messages regarding attractiveness) factors in the development and maintenance of body image disturbance and related issues in adolescents. This chapter focuses exclusively on sociocultural theories of body image and disordered eating, which posit that culturally determined ideals, expectations, and experiences exert influence on the development of body image and body image disturbance. According to the Tripartite Influence Model of body image and eating disturbance – around which this chapter is organized – mass media, parents, and peers are especially formative influences, that may exert both direct (e.g., via negative feedback or comments) and indirect (i.e., via appearance comparison and internalization) effects on body dissatisfaction. Images of attractiveness and messages regarding the importance of appearance transmitted by the media become particularly problematic when they are reinforced by the behaviors and comments of important socialization agents in adolescents’ lives – parents and peers. Other factors, such as race, ethnicity, and level of acculturation, may also impact body image during adolescence. The influence of the media, peers, parents, and culture, as well as the connection between body image disturbance and other areas of health will be discussed herein.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Factors Influencing Body Image During Adolescence, in V. Preddy, R. Watson, & C. Martin (Eds.), Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition, Springer, p. 3221-3239