College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Yan Li, PhD

Second Advisor

Joanna Buscemi, PhD


Body dissatisfaction has been found to be associated with a wide range of maladjustment outcomes and negative behavioral consequences. To identify the sources leading to body dissatisfaction, the present study proposed that an aspect of social cognition specifically regarding peer status, known as social status insecurity, may function as a precursor of body dissatisfaction. This study further examined the associations between social status insecurity and body-image-related health outcomes by focusing on the mediation effects of body dissatisfaction in a sample of 308 Chinese adolescents (117 girls, 191 boys). Furthermore, this study examined whether these mediation processes were moderated by social status (i.e., popularity status, social preference) and gender, with each type of social status (e.g., popularity) moderating the corresponding type of social status insecurity (e.g., popularity status insecurity). Results from path analyses generally demonstrated that feeling insecured about one’s status among peers is directly or indirectly associated with maladaptive eating behaviors, worse health conditions, social anxiety, and depressive symptoms, depending on the attained status and/or gender. Findings from this study can inform researchers, educators, and clinicians of peer status related vulnerabilities that likely induce adolescents’ disordered eating behaviors and physical, mental health problems, as well as inform them of some new directions for interventions aiming at reducing these negative outcomes.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons