Type of Document Dissertation Author Davis, Kimberly Ann URN etd-11132007-122201 Title Media Exposure, Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating: An Examination of Mediating and Moderating Mechanisms Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Communication, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Barry Sapolsky Committee Chair Felecia F. Jordan-Jackson Committee Member Jay Rayburn Committee Member Joyce Carbonell Committee Member Steve McDowell Committee Member Keywords
- Body Dissatisfaction
- Body Image
- Eating Disorder
- Magazine Exposure
- Television Exposure
- Mass Media
Date of Defense 2007-11-02 Availability unrestricted Abstract
The purpose of this study is to further explore the relationship of media exposure to body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance by examining the mediating effects of pressures and internalization as well as the moderating effects of ethnicity and weight. In the current study, the effects of television and magazine exposure were separated. Pressure was operationalized as influences perceived to be exerted by the media. Internalization was operationalized as the incorporation of specific values (conveyed by the media) to the point they become guiding principles.
The results regarding media use reveal that women read an average of three magazines and watch four television programs on a regular basis. They spend an average of two hours reading magazines and 12.3 hours watching television programs weekly. The results further reveal that while non-White women weigh more than White women, White women exhibit greater body dissatisfaction, feel more pressure to conform to thin images in media and display greater risk of eating disorder. Thus, ethnicity was found to moderate the effects of internalization, body dissatisfaction, and pressure in relation to magazine exposure. Because Body Mass Index (BMI) was not related to the sociocultural variables, it was not found to moderate the effects of internalization. The relationships to television exposure are negative or non-significant; therefore, magazine exposure is a more pertinent predictor of body dissatisfaction, eating disorder, pressure and indirectly internalization. Likewise, pressure is more salient than internalization revealing, that internalization is not a necessary precursor to women experiencing increased levels of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder.
This study adds to our understanding of the relationship of media exposure to body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance by examining the mediating roles of pressures and internalization as well as the moderating roles of ethnicity and weight, as measured by the BMI. The results of this study reveal that body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance must be examined in light of exposure to magazines and the pressure women feel to conform to thin images portrayed in the media.
The results reveal different underlying processes for magazine and television exposure. Future research should continue to focus on operationalizing media exposure in a precise manner that separates the effects of the media of interest. Future research should also focus on samples that are more diverse and larger in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and BMI. Finally, studies should continue to explore the mediating effects of pressures and the moderating effects ethnicity, as well as other variables that mediate and moderate the relationship of media exposure and body image.
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