SAGE Journals

Boys’ Internalized Appearance-Related Norms from Different Socializers Uniquely, Negatively Relate to Wellbeing and Gender Beliefs

Posted on 2023-05-19 - 12:09

Much of the work on body image socialization masks the potentially unique influence of different socializers, yet clearer understanding of socialization mechanisms and ideological context aid intervention efforts. We explored how fathers, female peers, male peers, and adolescent boys themselves produce different levels of internalized appearance-related norms and how these socializer-specific norms differentially relate to wellbeing and beliefs related to gender identity. With a sample of early adolescent boys (n = 260; Mage = 11.44 years, SDage = .56, 64% White), we used SEM to investigate relations between internalized norms, wellbeing, and gender beliefs. We found that most boys internalized appearance-related norms, and that boys reported higher levels of norms from themselves than from fathers or peers. Internalized appearance-related norms from different socializers uniquely related to self-esteem, private/public regard of gender, and self-presentation expectations in peer interactions. This relational framework provides unique insights into boys’ experiences with their appearance and the role of different socializers.


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