Role of social comparison in exposure to athletic media images on body image, mood, and desire to exercise
Seymour, Dana Louise
Master of Arts
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of social comparison and the impact of idealized athletic images in the media on body image and mood. The participants consisted of 90 undergraduate males and 132 undergraduate females from Lakehead University. One-week prior to the experimental manipulation, the participants completed a questionnaire package with the following instruments: Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist-Revised, visual analog scales for body image, State Self-Esteem Scale, Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire, Usual Physical Activity, Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire, Exercise Identity Scale, and Reasons for Exercise. At time 2, the participants were randomly assigned to view either idealized images of female or male models exercising. The participants then completed the mood and body image questionnaires. Female participants reported a decrease in positive body image, a decrease in positive affect, and an increase in desire to exercise following exposure to athletic female models. The findings also indicated that exercise frequency, exercise identity, body image, and exercising for motives of fitness, attractiveness, and tone all predicted change in these state measures. Female participants who viewed male athletic models reported a decrease in positive affect following exposure. Male participants who viewed male athletic models reported a decrease in positive affect following exposure. These findings provide partial support for Festinger’s (1954) theory of social comparison. It would appear that the impact of athletic media images is less aversive for males than females.