Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu

Keywords

awareness, body dissatisfaction, body image, internalization, media, pressures

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Numerous studies have examined the development of body image among people, especially girls and young women. Many factors have been associated with the development of body image dissatisfaction. Especially important are exposure to mass media and its relationship with three theoretical constructs: Awareness of a thin ideal, internalization of a thin ideal, and perceived pressures to be thin. Extending existing research, this study examined through experimentation the relationships among exposure to American media content and the awareness and internalization of the American norms and expectations for thinness, pressures to adopt these norms, and Trinidadian female adolescents' body image satisfaction. Based on previous findings, this study hypothesized that the three risk factors in the development of body image disturbance (awareness, internalization and pressures) would mediate the relationship between American media exposure and body image satisfaction among Trinidadian female adolescents. The results indicated that American media exposure and all three risk factors had statistically significant relationships with Trinidadian female adolescents' body image satisfaction. The more hours Trinidadian female adolescents spent watching American sitcoms, the less satisfied they are with their body image. An increase in American media exposure also resulted in the increase in the adolescents' awareness and internalization of the American norms and expectations for thinness, as well as the pressures to adopt those norms and expectations. Results also revealed that the three risk factors in the development of body image disturbance (awareness, internalization and pressures) were negatively correlated with body image satisfaction among Trinidadian female adolescents. Taken as a whole, the study supported the sociocultural model for the development of body image dissatisfaction.

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