Explaining the relation between thin ideal internalization and body dissatisfaction among college women: The roles of social comparison and body surveillance

Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Megan B. Harney, Laura G. Koehler, Lauren E. Danzi, Margaret K. Riddell, Anna M. Bardone-Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sociocultural models of disordered eating lack comprehensive explanations as to how thin ideal internalization leads to body dissatisfaction. This study examined two social psychological theories as explanations of this relation, namely social comparison and objectification theories, in a sample of 265 women attending a Southeastern university. Social comparison (both general and appearance-related) and body surveillance (the indicator of objectification) were tested as mediators of the relation between thin ideal internalization and body dissatisfaction using bootstrapping analyses. Results indicated that body surveillance was a significant specific mediator of this relation; however, neither operationalization of social comparison emerged as such. Results serve to elaborate upon the sociocultural model of disordered eating by providing a more comprehensive understanding of the processes by which thin ideal internalization manifests itself in body dissatisfaction. The current findings also highlight the importance of targeting body surveillance in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Body surveillance
  • Objectification
  • Social comparison
  • Sociocultural model
  • Thin ideal internalization

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