Thin-ideal internalization and social comparison tendency as moderators of thin media models’ impact on women’s body-focused anxiety

Dittmar, Helga and Howard, Sarah (2004) Thin-ideal internalization and social comparison tendency as moderators of thin media models’ impact on women’s body-focused anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23 (6). pp. 768-791. ISSN 0736-7236

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Abstract

Exposure to thin media models has a negative effect on women's body image, and the current study extends previous research by examining the relative impact and interrelation of two moderators: (a) individual differences in women's internalization of the thin ideal, and (b) tendency to make social comparisons with media models. Body-focused anxiety of adult professional women (n = 150) was examined after they had been exposed to one of three types of images: thin models, average-size models, or no models (baseline control). Regression analyses confirmed that thin-ideal internalization and tendency toward appearance–related social comparisons act as moderators of media effects, but internalization is a more proximal and specific predictor of women's anxiety than more general social comparison. Negative reactions to thin images are conditional on internalization only, whereas high internalization undermines the positive effects of exposure to average-size models when it combines with strong habitual social comparison. Implications for methodology, future research, and intervention are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Helga Dittmar
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:38
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 13:42
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13667
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