Media-portrayed idealized images, body shame, and appearance anxiety

Int J Eat Disord. 2005 Jul;38(1):85-90. doi: 10.1002/eat.20153.


Objective: This study was designed to determine the effects of media-portrayed idealized images on young women's body shame and appearance anxiety, and to establish whether the effects depend on advertisement type and on participant self-objectification.

Method: Participants were 39 female university students. Twenty-four magazine advertisements comprised 12 body-related and 12 non-body-related products, one half of each with, and the other one half without, idealized images. Preexposure and post exposure body shame and appearance anxiety measures were recorded.

Results: Appearance anxiety increased after viewing advertisements featuring idealized images. There was also a significant interaction between self-objectification level and idealized body (presence vs. absence). No differences emerged for body-related compared with non-body-related product advertisements. The only result for body shame was a main effect for time. Participants' body shame increased after exposure to idealized images, irrespective of advertisement type.

Discussion: Although our findings reveal that media-portrayed idealized images detrimentally affect the body image of young women, they highlight the individual differences in vulnerability and the different effects for different components of body image. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the prevention and early intervention of body image and dieting-related disorders. (

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Anxiety*
  • Body Image*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Self Concept
  • Shame*