Fashion consciousness as a social influence on lifestyle behaviour in young irish adults
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O'Connor, E (1997). Fashion consciousness as a social influence on lifestyle behaviour in young irish adults. Health Promotion International 12 (2), 135-139
The influence of changing fashion as portrayed in the various media is an important potential influence on health-related behaviours, particularly in adolescence when peer pressure is reportedly strong. Such health behaviours include smoking and diet. There is also a strong risk of developing eating disorders during this age period. A cross-sectional street survey was undertaken in an Irish city (75000 inhabitants) of young adult men and women aged 15-30 years to ascertain their knowledge and use of the print and visual media. A similar study was also carried out on a sample of patients with eating disorders attending psychiatric units in three main Irish cities. The knowledge and media-use information in turn was related to the smoking status and altitudes to own body size of the different groups ofyoung people. in the general street survey, smoking rates reflected the population average for that age group (34%), but in comparison, a higher percentage (50%) of the patients with eating disorders in the same age group smoked. Fashion-conscious' women in the general survey were significantly more likely to smoke (42%) than those who were not (23%) (p = 0.05). This also applied to the eating disorder patients-fashion-conscious women were more likely to smoke (50%) than those who were not (40%), although this did not reach statistical significance. Among boys in the general survey, albeit with mailer numbers, the converse pattern was seen; only 13% of fashion-conscious men smoked, compared with 56% of non-fashion-conscious men (p = 0.01). Insufficient numbers of men with eating disorders in the age group 15-30 years prevented analysis on this sub-group. The study emphasised the different motivations in lifestyle behaviour between young men and women, suggesting that different health promotion interventions are appropriate.