The Media's Influence on Body Image Disturbance and Eating Disorders: We've Reviled Them, Now Can We Rehabilitate Them?

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Survey, correlational, randomized control, and covariance structure modeling investigations indicate that the media are a significant factor in the development and maintenance of eating and shape‐related disorders. One specific individual difference variable, internalization of societal pressures regarding prevailing standards of attractiveness, appears to moderate or even mediate the media's effects on women's body satisfaction and eating dysfunction. Problematic media messages inherent in existing media portrayals of eating disorders are apparent, leading researchers to pinpoint intervention strategies that might counteract such viewpoints. Social activism and social marketing approaches are suggested as methods for fighting negative media messages. The media itself is one potential vehicle for communicating productive, accurate, and deglamorized messages about eating and shape‐related disorders.

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Journal of Social Issues, v. 55, issue 2, p. 339-353