Body image, Mass media -- Influence
Media effects on body dissatisfaction is a long-studied issue; however, aspects of the research – such as those regarding cultivation theory and its effects on body image – are unclear or incomplete. This study attempts to clarify the relationship between cultivation and body dissatisfaction. Besides cultivation, social comparison theory is also examined because upward comparisons with media images and peers can shape and reinforce body image attitudes as well. Additionally, the study examines the connection between media and body dissatisfaction by looking at a broader social context – one that includes other social/environmental influences, such as peer and parental attitudes, as well as internal influences such as self-esteem. A sample of 285 female undergraduate students completed media exposure, parental influence, peer influence, and self-esteem measures, as well as internalization of the thin-ideal and body dissatisfaction measures. Overall, the study found that while peer comparisons and self-esteem are associated with internalization of the thin ideal, they are not as powerful as the most significant indicators – media attitudes regarding weight and body shape and media comparisons. Contrastingly, peer comparisons and self-esteem were observed to be the strongest indicators of body dissatisfaction. These findings suggest that cultivation is directly associated with the internalization of the thin ideal. However, the cultivation of media messages may not have a direct effect on body dissatisfaction, as social/environmental influences and the internal variable of self-esteem proved to be the most significant indicators.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
VanVonderen, Kristen E., "Media Effects On Body Image In The Context Of Environmental And Internal Influences What Matters Most?" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1810.