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Women and Media

Women and Media

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Women and Media

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  1. Women and Media

  2. The paradox of fashion and beauty magazines...

  3. “Women don’t want to see what they look like. They want to see fantasy.” Alice Ansfield Publisher of Radiance Magazine

  4. Exploding the Myths of DietingMills, McCabe, & Polivy (1999)McCabe, Mills, & Polivy (1999a)McCabe, Mills, & Polivy (1999b)

  5. Dieting and Food Intake • Overall, dieters typically eat the same or more than do nondieters • Numerous triggers of overeating • Dieting and binge eating

  6. Dieting and Weight • Overwhelming evidence that diets don’t work • Dieting disrupts natural weight regulation, leading to slowed metabolism and increased efficiency at energy storage

  7. Dieting and Health • Benefits of weight loss based on short-term data • Health benefits diminish over time • Weight fluctuations and increased risk of heart disease • Binge eating and chronic disease

  8. Dieting and Well-Being • Early stages of diet bring reinforcement • Over time, inconvenience and social anxiety may emerge • Psychological effects of restriction: inability to concentrate, anxiety, dysphoria, apathy, hostility • Inevitable diet failures contribute to feelings of inadequacy

  9. Media Influences on Eating Behaviour • Naturalistic vs. experimental studies • Studying eating behaviour in the laboratory • Restrained versus unrestrained eaters

  10. Overall Purpose To examine experimentally the effects of viewing thin media images on eating, mood, and self-evaluation in female dieters and nondieters

  11. Social Comparison and Self-Evaluation • Social Comparison Theory: Negative contrast effect and attractive target persons • Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model: Upward comparisons and self-enhancement

  12. Study 1 • N = 72 (mean age = 19.50, SD = 1.13) • “Market research” study • Magazine advertisements: thin bodies vs. attractive faces vs. products only • Mood, state self-esteem, and self-image were assessed following ad exposure

  13. Study 1 Results

  14. Study 1 Conclusions • Evidence of self-enhancement in women overall • Females had higher appearance state self-esteem after viewing thin media images

  15. Study 2 • N = 98 (mean age = 19.72, SD = 1.13) • Restrained vs. unrestrained eaters • Magazine advertisements: thin bodies vs. heavier bodies vs. products-only • Food intake, mood, self-esteem, and current and ideal body size perception were assessed following ad exposure

  16. Study 2 Results

  17. Study 2 Results

  18. Study 2 Results

  19. Study 2 Conclusions • Restrained eaters demonstrated media-induced disinhibition • Restrained eaters reported wanting to be and feeling thinner following exposure to thin media images

  20. “Don’t read beauty magazines. They’ll only make you feel ugly.” Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

  21. Study 3 • N = 105 (mean age = 19.55, SD = 1.20) • Restrained vs. unrestrained eaters • Magazine advertisements: thin bodies vs. products-only • Demand characteristics: explicit; implied vs. minimized • Mood was assessed following ad exposure

  22. Study 3 Results

  23. Study 3 Results

  24. Study 3 Conclusions • Demand characteristics moderate the effects of exposure to thin media images • Explicit demand characteristics operate on all women and implicit demand characteristics operate on restrained eaters, resulting in worse self-reported mood following exposure to thin media images

  25. Study 4 • N = 61 (mean age = 19.34, SD = 1.05) • Only restrained eaters • Thinness attainability articles: high-attainability vs. low-attainability vs. neutral attainability • Magazine ads: thin bodies vs. products • Mood, state self-esteem, and current and ideal body size perception were assessed following ad exposure

  26. Study 4 Results

  27. Study 4 Conclusions • Among restrained eaters, thinness attainability beliefs moderate media-induced self-enhancement • Strengthening perceived thinness attainability produces improved mood following exposure to thin media images • Diminishing thinness attainability beliefs extinguishes the self-enhancement effect

  28. Conclusions • Restrained eaters show evidence of thin fantasy after looking at thin media images • Demand characteristics moderate the effects of such exposure • Thinness attainability beliefs also moderate this effect