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Thin-ideal internalization and social comparison tendency as moderators of thin media models’ impact on women’s body-focused anxiety
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 18:12 authored by Helga Dittmar, Sarah Howard
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.
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
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- Psychology Publications
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