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Keywords:

  • thin ideals;
  • music television;
  • social comparison;
  • body dissatisfaction

Abstract

Objective

The study investigated the impact of thin idealized images of women as presented in music television, a popular form of entertainment for young people.

Methods

A sample of 84 women viewed a videotape containing either appearance music videos (which emphasized appearance and featured thin and attractive women) or nonappearance music videos. The instructional set was also manipulated to encourage or discourage social comparison.

Results

Viewing the appearance music videos featuring thin women led to increased social comparison and body dissatisfaction. Regression analyses showed that the effect of video condition on body dissatisfaction was mediated by the level of comparison processing.

Discussion

The study demonstrated that the content of television programming can have negative consequences for women's body image. In addition, it offered social comparison processing as both a theoretic mechanism and a practical target for intervention. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 48–58, 2004.