Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 5–6, pp 366–378 | Cite as

Effects of Scarcely Dressed Models in Advertising on Body Esteem for Belgian Men and Women

  • Nathalie Dens
  • Patrick De Pelsmacker
  • Wim Janssens
Original Article


We explore how more revealing displays of models’ bodies in advertising impact individuals’ body esteem. The first study exposed a snowball sample of 215 Belgian men and women starting from a research department’s database to an advertisement containing a male or female model in pajamas or underwear. Scarcely dressed models had a negative effect on individuals’ body esteem compared to dressed models, especially for opposite-sex models. The second study replicated the results of the first with a representative sample of 123 women from a consumer panel, using different models. Both scarce dress of the opposite-sex model and reported sexual arousal affected body esteem. Model attractiveness served as a moderator for same-sex models.


Body esteem Self esteem Advertising Nudity Social comparison 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathalie Dens
    • 1
  • Patrick De Pelsmacker
    • 1
  • Wim Janssens
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Applied Economics, Marketing DepartmentUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Applied Economics, Department of Business StudiesHasselt UniversityHasseltBelgium

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