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Jeers of peers may affect adolescent adjustment
Date:8/6/2008

New research suggests that traits such as obesity during adolescence that may increase the risk of attacks from peers can result in health and psychological struggles that remain through young adulthood. The researchers say that this is one of the first studies to explore a possible link between victimization and weight changes for obese adolescents.

The findings by principal investigator Ryan Adams, assistant professor of educational studies at the University of Cincinnati, and William Bukowski, professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, are published in the current issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. They examined peer victimization as a predictor of depression and body mass index in obese and non-obese adolescents. Adams explains that while peer victimization is comparable to bullying, bullying behavior typically involves one-on-one targeting while peer victimization can also entail victimization that can come from the peer group in general.

Over a four-year period, the study found lower self-esteem and increased depression and body mass index for obese females who felt they were victimized by their peers. Obese males reported increased depression and lower feelings about physical appearance. However, negative feelings about their physical appearance earlier in the study were linked to a decrease in body mass index as they got older.

For non-obese males and females, there was no link between peer victimization and increased body mass index, but there were links to negative feelings about physical appearance as they got older.

"Victimization may not only reinforce the negative self-concepts that a risk factor for victimization, such as obesity, may cause, but a risk factor for victimization, such as obesity, will also make it more likely that the adolescent will be victimized indefinitely. In other words, the risk factors that strengthen the links in this pathway will a
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Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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