Impact of exposure to idealised male images on adolescent boys’ body image Academic Article uri icon


  • Research examining the impact on adolescent boys of exposure to muscular, athletic, idealised male images has been limited. This research had two aims (i) to investigate the mean effect on state body satisfaction and mood of exposure to idealised male images in adolescent boys, and, (ii) to identify individual attributes that predicted change in state body satisfaction, depression and anxiety following image exposure. One hundred and six boys (mean age=15.6 years) completed a self-report questionnaire on body image attitudes and psychological status. One week later, participants were divided into two groups, one that viewed idealised male images (experimental condition) while the other viewed non-figure advertising images (control condition). Three body satisfaction Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and a depression and anxiety VAS were completed immediately prior to and following image exposure. In the experimental compared to control condition, there were no significant changes on Want Toned Body, Want to Change Body Shape, Depression and Anxiety VAS following image exposure. However, there was a significant improvement in Like Body Shape VAS. In the experimental group, high internalisation of the muscular, athletic ideal predicted more negative response to viewing images on the body image and Depression VAS. Prior body dissatisfaction significantly predicted negative response to Body Shape Liking and Anxiety VAS. While on average, adolescent boys in this research were not negatively affected by exposure to idealised male images, reaction to exposure is dependent on individual attributes.

publication date

  • September 2004