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Adolescence. 2004 Fall;39(155):571-92.

Body-image evaluation and body-image investment among adolescents: a test of sociocultural and social comparison theories.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. Todd.Morrison@nuigalway.ie

Abstract

Sociocultural theory and social comparison theory were used to account for variations in body-image evaluation and body-image investment among male and female adolescents (N = 1,543). Exposure to magazines and television programs containing idealistic body imagery as well as frequency of self-comparison to universalistic targets (e.g., fashion models) were measured. Results provided minimal support for sociocultural theory, but fairly strong support for social comparison theory. Specifically, the extent to which males engaged in universalistic social comparison predicted appearance self-esteem, number of diets to gain weight, use of pathogenic weight control practices, and use of steroids to increase muscle mass. For females, universalistic social comparison predicted appearance self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, number of diets to lose weight, and use of pathogenic weight control practices. The possibility that the null effects for sociocultural theory were an artifact of dummy coding for missing data or theoretical interdependence were explored, but did not appear to be valid. Limitations of the present study and directions for future research are outlined.

PMID:
15673231
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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