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Eat Behav. 2012 Dec;13(4):321-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.05.004. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Relationships between self-esteem, media influence and drive for thinness.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Boise State University, 1910 University Dr., Boise, ID 8375-1715, USA. sofiafernandez@u.boisestate.edu


The media is a powerful societal tool for expressing expectations about how men and women should look. As a result, over the past several years, women have shown an increase in body dissatisfaction (Cash, Morrow, Hrabosky, & Perry, 2004). The present study examined the relationships between drive for thinness, self-esteem, and media influence among men and women. Two hundred ninety-four college students completed the Texas Social Behavior Inventory (Helmreich & Stapp, 1974), Sociocultural Attitudes towards Appearance Scale-3 (Thompson, van den Berg, Roehrig, Guarda, & Hienberg, 2004), self-constructed questionnaire influence of media models, and the drive for Thinness Subscale (DT) from the Eating Disorder Inventory-3 (EDI-3; (Garner, 2004)). We expected to find an association between drive for thinness and media influence and between drive for thinness and self-esteem for both men and women. Finally, we expected that the use of media, social pressures and media internalization would be predictors of drive for thinness. We found a relationship between media influence and drive for thinness. There was also a relationship between self-esteem and drive for thinness. For both men and women, media models were the primary predictor for drive for thinness. However, for women the secondary predictor was social pressures; whereas for men the secondary predictor was internalization. Such findings show the importance of examining the impact of media sources on men and women in order to entangle gender differences.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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