Impact of viewing body image health promotion videos in adult men and women: Comparison of narrative and informational approaches Academic Article uri icon


  • Body dissatisfaction is a serious public health issue, however, low awareness of its seriousness, and stigma, may inhibit treatment seeking. Social marketing videos using narrative-entertainment or documentary-informational style approaches may enhance awareness but little research has evaluated their impact, particularly potentially harmful effects. The current study addressed this gap. Men (n = 226) and women (n = 229), were randomly allocated to view one of four videos; (1) Narrative, (2) Narrative plus persuasive appeal, (3) Informational, and (4) Informational plus persuasive appeal. Outcome variables were assessed before and after viewing. A time-by-video interaction indicated an increase in perception of the importance of body dissatisfaction as a public health problem following informational, but not narrative videos. Time by gender interactions showed that women, but not men, experienced increased body weight satisfaction and reduced intentions to engage in body-talk after video viewing. Time main effects revealed improvements in perceptions of the problematic nature of body dissatisfaction related behaviours, in shape and muscularity satisfaction, and reduced anxiety and intentions to use body-talk and appearance comparison. Findings suggest that social marketing can increase awareness of body dissatisfaction without inadvertently causing harm. Results from this study provide preliminary support for dissemination through social marketing.

publication date

  • 2020