Longitudinal Relationships Among Internalization of the Media Ideal, Peer Social Comparison, and Body Dissatisfaction: Implications for the Tripartite Influence Model Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Sociocultural theory of body dissatisfaction posits that internalization of the media ideal and appearance comparison are predictors of body dissatisfaction, a key risk factor for eating disorders. However, no data exist regarding the longitudinal relationships between these variables. The aim of this study was to explore longitudinal relationships among internalization of the media-ideal, social appearance comparison, and body dissatisfaction. A sample of 277 Grade 7 school girls (M age = 12.77 years, SD = 0.44) completed measures of internalization of the media ideal, social appearance comparison, and body dissatisfaction at baseline, 8 months, and 14 months. Path analyses indicated that baseline internalization of the media ideal predicted social appearance comparison and body dissatisfaction at 8 months, and social appearance comparison at 8 months predicted body dissatisfaction at 14 months. A reciprocal effect emerged with body dissatisfaction at 8 months predicting internalization of the media ideal at 14 months. The findings inform sociocultural theory of body dissatisfaction, suggesting that internalization of the media ideal precedes and predicts appearance comparison and that body image interventions that target internalization of the media ideal, and social appearance comparison as well as body dissatisfaction are likely to be effective.

publication date

  • 2015