Body Image and Appearance-Related Feedback: Recall, Judgment, and Affective Response

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Women viewed one of two videotaped vignettes designed to assess the effects of appearance-related feedback on a variety of recall and subjective distress indices. The experimental tape consisted of an interaction between a male and female acquaintance that contained several instances of verbal and nonverbal feedback from the man to the woman regarding physical appearance issues (i.e., attire, exercise, food selection, weight, etc.). The control tape contained the same number of interactions and also maintained the critical tone of the experimental tape; however, the male's commentary targeted issues unrelated to appearance. The results revealed no group or condition influences on free recall of appearance-related feedback. Participants in the experimental condition with high levels of body image anxiety recalled more instances of negative affective responses by the female than in other conditions. The high body image anxiety group also rated their reaction to the specific feedback events as more negative than low body image anxiety participants. Anger scores increased from pre to post video exposure in the experimental condition, but did not change for the control condition. The findings are discussed in light of recent work on cognitive processing and body image disturbance.

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Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, v. 17, issue 3, p. 319-340