Magazines, Media, and teen body image

http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2011/04/25/magazines-media-and-teen-body-image/

This article gave some really insightful information.  This was published in 2011 and was from Neurotic Physiology.  This was based on four hypotheses.  First I need to explain what this article means by BIED.  BIED is the increased drive to be thin, increased anorexia and/or bulimia, increased muscularity, and decreased body satisfaction.  This article also deals with not only the usual female perspective but also the male perspective.

 

The hypotheses tested were:

H1:  Reading fashion, sports, and health magazines will predict increased BIED (explained above).
H2 / H3:  Social comparisons with magazine images will predict increased BIED.
H4:  Increased critical body image processing will predict increased BIED.  

The results are actually quite surprising in a couple of ways.  First when it dealt with the three types of magazines, most surprising was that Health and Fitness magazines had the worst impact on body image and eating disorders.  Health and Fitness was correlated with increased anorexic behaviors, increased bulimic behaviors, and increased drive to be thin in girls.  It was also correlated with increased muscularity in boys.  While Fashion magazines (the one everyone thought would be the worst) having a small correlation with bulimic behaviors but not other correlation between image and magazine reading.  Sports magazines also had a quite shocking results because for a sports magazine it was correlated with increased muscularity with girls, not boys.  The next two hypotheses results actually made sense.  Girls who compare themselves with the images in magazines suffered more often from decreased body satisfaction and eating disorders than those who didn’t.  This was also true for boys, but boys also had increased muscularity.  Lastly, the article results for hypothesis four was that the more images that girls and boys compared themselves to, the more likely they were to have problems with body image and eating disorders which makes sense.  

What I did find interesting was that more people that spent time reading the articles and less time looking at the magazine images actually felt better about themselves.

I truly feel that article was very honest and came out with appropriate results for the study it was running.  Some of the results I felt were unexpected but after thinking about them it really made sense.  From now on, stop looking at the images and read what’s important, the articles themselves.  As much as the images give off the wrong sign, the articles actually might be helpful and want the reader to feel good about themselves.

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