Peer and friend influences on children's eating

Laura Houldcroft, Emma Haycraft, Claire Farrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peers and friends are perceived as important role models for the formation of children's attitudes and behaviours. A wealth of research has aimed to establish the contribution of peers and friends to children's developing eating behaviours, and their attitudes towards eating. This review describes and evaluates such research. Experimental research examining peer modelling of food consumption and liking is reviewed, and several individual child factors that are suggested to make children more or less receptive to peer and friend influences are discussed. The influence of children's perceptions of their peers' and friends' eating behaviours upon their own eating practices is also explored. The benefits of future longitudinal research to improve understanding of peer and friend influences on children's eating are emphasized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-40
Number of pages22
JournalSocial development
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Houldcroft, L., Haycraft, E., & Farrow, C. (2014). Peer and friend influences on children's eating. Social development, 23(1), 19-40, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • friendship
  • modelling
  • food preference
  • consumption


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