A Study of the Effects of
Ideal-type Media Exposure on
Exposure to media containing idealized body images increases one’s level of body dissatisfaction and lowers self-esteem. The effects of ideal-type media exposure on body dissatisfaction was examined in a sample of ninety (90) college students ages 18 to 25 years old, using an experimental research design. The Experimental group was shown media portraying ideal body types, while the Control group viewed neutral media images. The results showed that the Experimental group had lowered levels of body satisfaction when compared to the Control group by scores attained on the Sociocultural Attitude Toward Appearance Questionnaire. The findings suggest that ideal-type media increases body dissatisfaction and lowers self-esteem. Media that contains average-sized models lowers one’s pressure to fit the societal form of beauty and can increase body satisfaction.
Statement of the Problem
A study of the effects, if any, of ideal-type media exposure on body dissatisfaction for subjects between the ages of 18 to 25 years.
Review of Related Literature
Carney and Louw (2006) examined the relationship between eating disorder behavior and the exposure to ideal-type media in a sample of 221 (176 women and 45 men) undergraduate psychology students, ages ranging from 18 to 32 years, in South Africa. The study measured both qualitative (interview) and quantitative (Eating Attitude Test-26, or EAT-26) methods and had an operational definition of “mass media exposure”. The EAT-26 consists of 26 self-report items measuring primarily the symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa, such as body dissatisfaction. The researchers then interviewed the students about what celebrity they thought had an “ideal” body type and then about how much leisure time they spent interacting with this type of media. The results of the study showed that media exposure is not necessarily the...