Image and attitude: The impact of media images on the self-esteem, body image and sexual attitudes of college students
This study sought to investigate the complex relationship between media images, body image, self-esteem and sexual attitudes in college women and men. In particular, the relationship between these variables and eating disordered women was investigated. Subjects in this study were 145 undergraduate students from a public university in the northeastern United States. All participants completed the EAT-26 and the Built-R. As a result, fifteen women were classified as eating disordered.^ This study sought to investigate the impact of media images of women in a variety of areas. Subjects in this study viewed slide presentations of media images of women or of product-only images. The experimental images contained only one woman per slide, and included the torso. For example, images featuring only a facial photograph were excluded. No men were included in the experimental images. These images were selected from magazines with a college-aged, primarily female readership. Both sets of slides used in the study retained their extraneous text.^ The hypotheses in this study were only partially supported. Men who viewed the experimental slides had greater acceptance of interpersonal violence than did men who viewed the product only slides. Significant differences were not found on three other related measures of sexual attitudes. Additionally, treatment condition did not influence men's ideas about attractive body image in women.^ While the treatment condition did interact with eating disorder classification to yield significant differences on the current and ideal body figure ratings, eating disorder classification seems to be the more important factor. The treatment condition impacted women's figure ratings only when eating disordered and non-eating disordered women were looked at separately. The treatment impacted eating disordered women and non-eating disordered women differently on two of the four figure ratings.^ Self-esteem was not impacted by the experimental manipulation, however there were significant differences in the self-esteem of eating disordered and non-eating disordered women. Eating disorder classification resulted in significant differences in both global and seven components of self-esteem. In all instances of significance, women with eating disorders had lower levels of self-esteem than non-eating disordered women.^ Gender differences were also noted in several areas. Women rated advertising, friends, magazines, mother, movies and romantic partner as more influential of their ideas about attractiveness than did men. Men were also significantly more likely to acknowledge that they would refuse to date someone who was not "thin" enough and that they had stopped dating someone who was not "thin" enough. Women and men did not differ in these areas when "attractive" was substituted for "thin" indicating that attractiveness is equally important to women and men, but that thinness in a romantic partner is more important to men than women.^ Relatedness to previous research findings, limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed. ^
Psychology, Social|Mass Communications
Robyn Lynn Reed,
"Image and attitude: The impact of media images on the self-esteem, body image and sexual attitudes of college students"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).