Body dissatisfaction correlates with inter-peer competitiveness, not media exposure: A brief report

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Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology


Although scholars and professional organizations regularly lament the influence of media on women's body dissatisfaction, research evidence to support such concerns remains inconsistent. In 2011, Ferguson, Winegard, and Winegard proposed a Catalyst Model of women's body dissatisfaction which provided a diathesis-stress perspective on such phenomenon. The Catalyst Model argued that women's body dissatisfaction was influenced by peer competition with other proximal women rather than distal depictions of women in the media. This hypothesis was tested in this study, with a sample of 218 young Mexican American women. Body dissatisfaction was predicted primarily by larger body mass index (BMI), depressive symptoms and feelings of inferiority in comparison to other women. Exposure to thin-ideal images on television did not correlate with body dissatisfaction. Life satisfaction among young women was related to depression levels, perceptions of parental affection and body dissatisfaction, but not to exposure to thin-ideal images on television. Results supported the Catalyst Model. © 2012 Guilford Publications, Inc.

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