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The Impact of Body Image on Consumers’ Perceptions of Idealized Advertising Images and Brand Attitudes


  • Authors’ Note: Ui-Jeen Yu, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. Mary L. Damhorst, is a Professor in the Department of Apparel, Educational Studies and Hospitality Management Department at Iowa State University. Daniel W. Russell, is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University. Please address correspondence to Ui-Jeen Yu, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, 203K Turner, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-5060; e-mail:


The purpose of this study was to examine how individuals’ body images influence their attitude toward an apparel brand through their perceptions of attractiveness and similarity with thin-idealized and nonidealized advertising images in the social comparison process. Data were collected from 143 female college students at a Midwestern university using a Web-based survey. Exposure to thin models did not induce more favorable brand attitudes than exposure to average-size models. However, individuals’ body images indirectly influenced brand attitudes through their perceptions of similarity with model images in the social comparison process. The results indicate the importance of body image in understanding a person’s interpretation of media images. The results imply that advertisers could feature more realistic model images reflecting a greater number of individuals' body images.

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