Self-enhancing effects of exposure to thin-body images




This study examines the effect of thin-body media images on mood, self-esteem, and self-image ratings of restrained and unrestrained eaters. A secondary purpose was to examine whether these effects were influenced by exposure duration.


Under the guise of a perception study, participants were exposed to thin-body or control advertisements (e.g., perfume bottles) for either 7 or 150 ms and then completed a questionnaire packet.


Restrained eaters reported more favorable self-image and social self-esteem (but not appearance self-esteem) scores after exposure to thin-body images than after exposure to control advertisements. The self-image and social self-esteem scores of unrestrained eaters were unaffected by advertisement type, but their appearance self-esteem scores were lower after exposure to thin-body advertisements. No differences were found for mood ratings and total self-esteem.


We discuss restraint status as a moderator of the effects of thin-body images on women's body image. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 333–341, 2004.