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Thin-ideal internalization, Peer groups, Socialization, Selection, Weight conscious

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Affiliation with weight conscious peer groups is theorized to increase thin-ideal internalization through socialization processes. However, selection effects could contribute if genetic and/or environmental predispositions lead to affiliation with weight conscious peers. Co-twin control methodology was used to examine socialization and selection effects in 614 female twins (ages 8-15) from the Michigan State University Twin Registry (MSUTR). Thin-ideal internalization and peer group characteristics were assessed via self-report questionnaires. Results suggested the presence of both socialization and selection effects. In terms of socialization, twins who reported increased exposure to weight conscious peers relative to their co-twins had elevated thin-ideal internalization scores, regardless of zygosity. However, associations between weight conscious peers and thin-ideal internationalization within twin pairs were attenuated, suggesting that genetic and shared environmental selection effects also contribute. Findings significantly extend previous work by confirming the presence of socialization processes and highlighting selection processes to be examined in future longitudinal research.

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Body Image, v. 17, p. 1-9

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© <2016>. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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