Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




David Stein


Researchers and clinicians have postulated that the thin-ideal image portrayed in the media leads to body dissatisfaction and negative self-appraisals among women; however, there is little research that has directly examined the effects of these images on women. The purpose of this research investigation was to experimentally examine the effects of exposure to the thin-ideal on women's affect, self-esteem, body satisfaction, and level of internalization of the thin body image. This study also assessed how the thin-ideal image differentially impacted women with a diagnosed eating disorder. College women (N = 145) were randomly exposed to photographs from popular magazines containing either thin-ideal images or neutral images (nonmodels).

The results indicated that exposure to the thin-ideal images produced body dissatisfaction, negative mood states, and lowered self-esteems. It was also expected that exposure to the thin body image would result in higher levels of internalization of the thin-ideal; however, the results indicated that women exposed to these images had significantly lower levels of internalization compared to women in the neutral condition. The results also suggest that women with eating disorders exhibited significantly more body dissatisfaction and depression after exposure to the thin-ideal relative to all other subgroups of women. Implications for prevention of eating disorders and areas of future research are discussed.



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