Influence of mass media on body image and eating disordered attitudes and behaviors in females: A review of effects and processes

Gemma López-Guimerà, Michael P. Levine, David Sánchez-Carracedo, Jordi Fauquet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reviews research on the effects of television and magazines on body image and on disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in females. Evidence from different types of studies in the fields of eating disorders, media psychology, health psychology, and mass communication indicates that mass media are an extremely important source of information and reinforcement in relation to the nature of the thin beauty ideal, its importance, and how to attain it. Although considerable research remains to be done, evidence is accumulating that repeated exposure to media and to both direct and indirect (via media's effects on peers, parents, coaches, physicians, etc.) pressures from media to be thin constitute risk factors for body dissatisfaction, concerns over weight and disordered eating behaviors in adolescent girls and young women. To guide further research, as well as the prevention and treatment of disordered eating, we present a figural summary of media effects that integrates moderating and mediating factors such as internalization of the thin beauty ideal, social comparison, and activation of the thinness schema. We argue that risk factor research, prevention, and treatment will benefit from systematic research designed to clarify how the impact of various mass media is shaped by source and receiver/ perceiver factors. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-416
JournalMedia Psychology
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

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