Media Exposure Predicts Body Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Appearance Comparison
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Physical appearance comparison may make individuals more susceptible to the detrimental effects of brief media exposure on body satisfaction. However, it is unclear whether these findings would also extend to chronic media exposure in everyday life. In addition, it is unknown whether the role of appearance comparison relative to media and body dissatisfaction differs between genders. This study examined trait physical appearance comparison as a moderator of the relationships between television and Internet exposure and appearance evaluation and body area satisfaction. Male (n = 137) and female (n = 335) undergraduates completed self-report measures of trait physical appearance comparison, television and Internet consumption, appearance evaluation, and body area satisfaction. Among women, appearance comparison moderated the relationship between television exposure and appearance evaluation, such that those who engaged in more appearance comparison and viewed more television had a more negative evaluation of their appearance. Among men, appearance comparison moderated the relationship between Internet use and body area dissatisfaction, such that those who engaged in more appearance comparison and spent a significant amount of time on the Internet had greater body area dissatisfaction. These results suggest that appearance comparison represents a vulnerability for experiencing body dissatisfaction from media exposure, contingent on media format and gender.
KeywordsBody image Media Body dissatisfaction Appearance comparison
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