Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joel K. Thompson


Appearance Comparison, Body Image Disturbance, Internalization, Media, Objectification Theory


Past research has examined body image and eating-related outcomes of exposure to mass media. This research has generally found that such exposure is a significant risk factor for body image disturbance and disordered eating. However, a causal relationship has not yet been firmly established. Several theories, including objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), have attempted to explain this relationship with some success. The current study had two primary goals. First, it was designed to further explore the potential causal relationship between mass media exposure and body image and affect disturbance. Second, it attempted to go beyond individuals' body image and explore how exposure to objectifying media influences people's judgments of others. Briefly, the results revealed that exposure to media that objectify women was related to state body image disturbance, anger, and anxiety. Gender and internalization of cultural appearance ideals frequently played an important role in these relationships. Exposure to objectifying media did not predict participants' judgments of women's competence or attractiveness. However, interesting gender differences were observed.

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