Labels to prevent the detrimental effects of media on body image: A systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:Most advertisements contain thin-ideal imagery enhanced by digital modification. The deleterious effects on body image and eating disorder risk of exposure to such images have been well documented. One of the proposed macro-level solutions to mitigate these effects has been the use of labels on images, primarily disclaimer labels. A growing number of studies have explored the usefulness of such labels in protecting body image against the detrimental effects of media exposure; however, findings have been divergent. METHODS:The current study aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature investigating the effects of including labels on media images on body image. RESULTS:The systematic review identified n = 22 studies that were included in a narrative review, n = 18 were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, findings provided little support for the use of disclaimer or warning labels as a means of protecting against the detrimental effects of media exposure on body image. Furthermore, findings suggested that such labels might increase state appearance comparison when exposed to media images. DISCUSSION:These findings are especially concerning in light of recent legislative efforts to mitigate media effects through the use of labels on imagery, as well as industry initiatives based on image labeling. Additional research examining alternative strategies for universal prevention of body image and eating concerns is warranted.

publication date

  • 2020