Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 367–373

The Effect of “Thin Ideal” Television Commercials on Body Dissatisfaction and Schema Activation During Early Adolescence


DOI: 10.1023/A:1024974015581

Cite this article as:
Hargreaves, D. & Tiggemann, M. Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2003) 32: 367. doi:10.1023/A:1024974015581


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of viewing televised images of female attractiveness on the body dissatisfaction of young adolescent girls and boys. Adolescents (160 females and 197 males) aged 13–15 years viewed either 20 commercials containing idealized female thin images or 20 nonappearance television commercials. Body dissatisfaction was measured before (Time 1), immediately following (Time 2), and 15 min after (Time 3) commercial viewing. Appearance-schema activation was assessed using a word-stem completion task. Girls, but not boys, who viewed the appearance commercials reported significantly higher body dissatisfaction at both Times 2 and 3 compared with the nonappearance condition. Participant age had no effect. Both girls and boys in the appearance condition reported greater schema activation, but appearance schematicity did not moderate the commercial effect. The results support the general hypothesis that televised images of attractiveness lead to increased body dissatisfaction and schema activation for girls as young as 13 years old.

mass mediathin ideal sociocultural influencesappearance schemasbody dissatisfaction

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia