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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the multiple, complex role of friends and peers (including peer pressure, teasing, social comparison, and cultural differences and influences). It begins by examining how peers exert their direct influence via negative comments such as teasing, encouragement, modelling, discussions, peer networks, and social comparisons. It then examines the associations between peer relationships and appearance/body image concerns. The role of friends is specifically examined. Friends can provide social support and intimacy; they may help children and adolescents to cope with insecurities, and serve as a buffer against emotional difficulties. The article also considers how the influence of peers and friends may vary according to gender, age, and cultural group.

Keywords: friends, peer pressure, influence, body image, appearance psychology

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