JOURNAL ARTICLE

The connection of teasing by parents, siblings, and peers with girls' body dissatisfaction and boys' drive for muscularity: the role of social comparison as a mediator

Mallary K Schaefer, Elizabeth H Blodgett Salafia
Eating Behaviors 2014, 15 (4): 599-608
25218358
In this cross-sectional study, we focused on three research questions pertaining to the connections between appearance-related teasing and body image during adolescence. First, we investigated how parental appearance-related teasing of adolescents was associated with teasing by siblings. Second, we examined how teasing by mothers, fathers, siblings, and peers was individually associated with adolescent girls' body dissatisfaction and boys' drive for muscularity. We included BMI as a possible moderator in these analyses. Third, we tested the role of appearance-related social comparison as a mediator of the relations between teasing and body image. Self-report survey data were collected from 80 girls and 78 boys in a Midwestern U.S. middle school. Results from correlational and odds-ratio analyses indicated that teasing by mothers and fathers was strongly associated with teasing by siblings. Additionally, in regression analyses, mothers', fathers', siblings', and peers' teasing were separately associated with girls' body dissatisfaction and boys' drive for muscularity. Social comparison partially mediated the relationship between all sources of teasing and girls' body dissatisfaction as well as the relationship between mothers' and fathers' teasing and boys' drive for muscularity. Social comparison fully mediated the link between peers' teasing and boys' drive for muscularity. Researchers and clinicians should be aware of how family members and peers can influence adolescents' development of body image concerns through teasing behaviors and by social comparison.

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