Press releasePublished on 08.09.2021

Consequences of exposure to the thin ideal in mass media depend on moderators in young women: An experimental study.


This study supports that exposure to mostly unachievable thin ideals in mass media in the laboratory leads to body image dissatisfaction and impaired mood not only in young women with eating disorders, but further in those with mixed mental disorders and in healthy ones. In particular, impaired mood after thin ideal exposure activated disturbed eating behavior in women with eating disorders. Effects in all groups were more pronounced in case of increased cognitive processing relating the thin ideals in mass media with self-ideals and provoking a negative belief that the likelihood of an undesirable event (e.g., weight gain) will occur by the mere thinking about it (thin ideals). 

Munsch, S., Messerli-Bürgy, N., Meyer, A. H., Humbel, N., Schopf, K., Wyssen, A., Forrer, F., Biedert, E., Lennertz, J., Trier, S., Isenschmid, B., Milos, G., Claussen, M., Whinyates, K., Adolph, D., Margraf, J., Assion, H.-J., Teismann, T., Ueberberg, B., . . . Schneider, S. (2021). Consequences of exposure to the thin ideal in mass media depend on moderators in young women: An experimental study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 130 (5), 498–511. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000676

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