The Internet and Adolescent Girls’ Weight Satisfaction and Drive for Thinness
The primary aim of the study was to examine the relationship between media exposure and body image in adolescent girls, with a particular focus on the ‘new’ and as yet unstudied medium of the Internet. A sample of 156 Australian female high school students (mean age = 14.9 years) completed questionnaire measures of media consumption and body image. Internet appearance exposure and magazine reading, but not television exposure, were found to be correlated with greater internalization of thin ideals, appearance comparison, weight dissatisfaction, and drive for thinness. Regression analyses indicated that the effects of magazines and Internet exposure were mediated by internalization and appearance comparison. It was concluded that the Internet represents a powerful sociocultural influence on young women’s lives.