Date of Award

12-3-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Jarry, Josee

Keywords

body conceptualization, digital alteration, media exposure, men, muscle dissatisfaction, social comparison

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

In two studies, the effects of exposure to media images that differed in body conceptualization and in disclaimer type on men’s self-evaluations, negative affect, and muscle-building behaviour were examined. State and trait social comparison were included as moderators. For Study 1, it was hypothesized that men would report greater muscle dissatisfaction and negative affect, lower physical condition esteem, and engage in less muscle-building behaviour following the viewing of body-as-object images than those who viewed body-as-process images. These effects would be more pronounced for men who engaged in greater state comparison. Body conceptualization was manipulated by showing 101 men images that either emphasized the aesthetic or functional qualities of the male body, subsequently, the number of bicep curls was measured. As predicted, men in the body-as-object condition engaged in fewer biceps curls than did men in the body-as-process condition. Among men who engaged in greater comparison, those in the body-as-object condition reported greater muscle dissatisfaction and negative affect than did men in the body-as-process condition. For Study 2, it was hypothesized that men who viewed less relevant media ideal images (muscularity disclaimer condition) would report both lower muscle dissatisfaction and negative affect, greater physical condition esteem, and engage in less muscle-building behaviour than those who viewed control images (colour disclaimer condition). These effects would be more pronounced for men who engaged in greater state comparison. One hundred and two men viewed images that were described as digitally altered in terms of enhanced muscularity or colour, subsequently, protein consumption was measured. Unexpectedly, men in the muscularity disclaimer condition reported greater muscle dissatisfaction and negative affect and consumed more protein than did men in the colour disclaimer condition. These effects were independent of level of comparison. These findings suggest that compared to performance-focused images, appearance-focussed images are more damaging to men who engage in greater comparison. Attempting to mitigate these outcomes by informing men of digital alterations made to the models’ physique was ineffective. Instead, knowledge of digital alterations exacerbated these negative effects by perhaps reinforcing the cultural norms for muscularity as well as the desirability of the male media ideal.

Share

COinS