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01-04-2006 | Uitgave 2/2006

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2006

What Friends are for: The Relationships Between Body Image, Substance Use, and Peer Influence Among Finnish Adolescents

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2006
Riia Palmqvist, Nina Santavirta
Belangrijke opmerkingen
MA (Educational Sciences) from the University of Turku. Research interests include substance use and the life processes of adolescents.
Docent (Educational Sciences), PhD from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.
The study investigated the relationships between substance use, body image, and peer influence among Finnish adolescents. The participants (N=488, 240 boys and 248 girls), were eighth-grade high school students. The data were gathered using a questionnaire. In addition to background information, the study covered risk behaviors frequency, body satisfaction, and peer relationships. The results indicated that the levels of body satisfaction among the adolescent girls studied were lower than those among the adolescent boys. It was found that the girls engaged in more discussion with peers than the boys concerning both intimate and general matters. Moreover, having an intimate relationship with one's peers was associated with a greater tendency to drink purely in order to get drunk. However, a slightly more distant relationship with friends was associated with a greater risk for smoking. In general, dissatisfaction with one's physical appearance seemed to relate to substance use. By highlighting the relationships between adolescents’ body image, substance use, and peer influence the study gives pointers for further research, and may be suggestive in terms of the kinds of social policies that ought to be pursued in the future.

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