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Int J Eat Disord. 2007 Sep;40(6):537-48.

What does viewing a pro-anorexia website do? An experimental examination of website exposure and moderating effects.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA. bardoneconea@missouri.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study experimentally examined the effects of viewing a pro-anorexia website.

METHOD:

Following construction of a prototypic pro-anorexia website, 235 female undergraduates were randomly assigned to view either the pro-anorexia website or one of two comparison websites related to female fashion (using average-sized models) or home d├ęcor. Post-website affect, cognitions, and behavioral expectations were examined along with moderator effects.

RESULTS:

Study participants exposed to the pro-anorexia website had greater negative affect, lower social self-esteem, and lower appearance self-efficacy post-website than those who viewed a comparison website. Additionally, they perceived themselves as heavier, reported a greater likelihood of exercising and thinking about their weight in the near future, and engaged in more image comparison. Minimal support was found for moderator effects.

CONCLUSION:

Results provide an empirical basis for concern (expressed by clinicians, researchers, the media) that pro-anorexia websites are a troubling new form of thin-ideal exposure that warrants further examination.

PMID:
17525952
DOI:
10.1002/eat.20396
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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