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Social comparison, situational variation and body image dissatisfaction


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Sultan, S 2010 , 'Social comparison, situational variation and body image dissatisfaction', DPsych(Clin) thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The role of the influence of the media on adolescent girls' mood and body image was examined from a social psychological perspective. A school-based sample of adolescent girls (age range 12-15 years) was recruited from public and private schools in southern Tasmania. Three separate studies were conducted involving both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Study I measured body image dissatisfaction and mood after media exposure (perusal of a popular girls' magazine) to the thin ideal either in a group context or individually. The main findings suggest a positive effect of mood as a result of group membership. On the basis of these findings, a second study was conducted to examine the factors that make the group situation a more positive experience in relation to mood and body image satisfaction. Results indicated the importance of three variables which may contribute to more positive mood and body image satisfaction. Firstly, when in a group situation girls may be comparing themselves with their peers as well as the media models offering a more realistic source of comparison. Secondly, the group may serve as a distraction as it allowed them to focus on the material and its shortcomings rather than on themselves. Thirdly, reassuring comments made by peers in the group may also be a contributing factor to body satisfaction and mood state. In order to explore the possibility that recommendation was forming groups on the basis of friendship networks a third study was designed in order to address the methodological issues arising in the initial experiment. It continued investigation into the impact of brief exposure to thin ideal body shapes on mood and body satisfaction in adolescent girls. Furthermore study three aimed to explore the influence of group processes on social comparison. As in the first study mood and body satisfaction was assessed at pre and post media exposure. Thin ideal internalization, social comparison and a measure of body mass index were also undertaken post exposure as they have been found to influence the exposure-body image relationship. Despite previous research findings of an effect for short-term exposure to thin ideal media images and body image dissatisfaction and negative mood no significant main effects were found for the primary dependent measures. These findings along with limitations of the study as well as directions for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis - DPsych(Clin)
Authors/Creators:Sultan, S
Keywords: Body image in girls, Self-perception in adolescence, Mass media and girls
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Copyright 2010 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Thesis (DPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

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