Body Positivity, but not for everyone: the role of model size in exposure effects on women’s mood, body satisfaction, and food choice

Simon, Kathleen and Hurst, Megan (2021) Body Positivity, but not for everyone: the role of model size in exposure effects on women’s mood, body satisfaction, and food choice. Body Image, 39. pp. 125-130. ISSN 1740-1445

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Abstract

Body Positivity (or ‘BoPo’) social media content may be beneficial for women’s mood and body image, but concerns have been raised that it may reduce motivation for healthy behaviours. This study examines differences in women’s mood, body satisfaction, and hypothetical food choices after viewing BoPo posts (featuring average or larger women) or a neutral travel control. Women (N = 167, 81.8 % aged 18–29) were randomly assigned in an online experiment to one of three conditions (BoPo-average, BoPo-larger, or Travel/Control) and viewed three Instagram posts for two minutes, before reporting their mood and body satisfaction, and selecting a meal from a hypothetical menu. Women who viewed the BoPo posts featuring average-size women reported more positive mood than the control group; women who viewed posts featuring larger women did not. There were no effects of condition on negative mood or body satisfaction. Women did not make less healthy food choices than the control in either BoPo condition; women who viewed the BoPo images of larger women showed a stronger association between hunger and calories selected. These findings suggest that concerns over BoPo promoting unhealthy behaviours may be misplaced, but further research is needed regarding women’s responses to different body sizes.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: body positivity, Instagram, social media, food choice, intuitive eating
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 14:54
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2021 09:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/100627

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