body image, prevention, internalization
The adverse effects of exposure to unrealistic ideals in the media are well documented, however, this is the first study to explore the possibility that women may experience improvement in body image and affect via social comparison to women with realistic, non-ideal body shape and size. Using material from The Century Project©, the impact of exposure to nude, non-pornographic photographs of women of varied shape, size, age, and physical condition, and the photographed women's personal commentaries about how they successfully cope with body image concerns was tested using an experimental design. It was hypothesized that exposure to the photographs and their associated commentaries would lead to an improvement in body image, mood, and self-esteem, and that this effect would be moderated by preexisting levels of internalization of the thin ideal and strong core beliefs about the importance of appearance (schematicity). Women exposed to the photos and comments condition experienced significantly less appearance-related anxiety than those exposed to photo-only and comments-only conditions, and internalization, but not schematicity, moderated this effect. Findings suggest women who have a greater tendency to internalize sociocultural body image standards may be more receptive to positive changes in these standards when presented with a persuasive visual and cognitive stimulus. However, without both aspects (visual and commentary) high internalizers appear to experience greater negative reactions to these stimuli.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Murray, Janet Derosier, "Testing An Intervention To Address The Sociocultural Influence Of Mass Media On Body Image: Can We Reverse The Curse?" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 364.