Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Brannick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathon Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Douglas Nelson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.


Body image, Body dissatisfaction, Self-schema, Social comparison, Appearance


The current study was an investigation of the self-schema and social comparison theories of the development of body dissatisfaction. Social comparison stimuli, consisting of photographs of women, were piloted and selected to form 3 stimuli sets: upward comparison, downward comparison, and no comparison. A priming manipulation consisting of an imagery exercise intended to prime participants appearance self-schema was also piloted. Participants completed state measures of body image and mood at pretest, were given the priming manipulation and the social comparison stimuli, then completed posttest measures of mood and body image, as well as providing demographic information. Results indicated no significant interaction between priming and social comparison and no significant main effect for priming. However, there was a significant effect of social comparison, such that those in the downward comparison condition showed decreased body dissatisfaction and negative mood. Results are discussed in the context of self-schema theory and social comparison, and suggestions are given for future research that might further shed light on these topics.