Here’s another pretty obvious study for our records: researchers from Germany and the Netherlands have compared the way women of two differing BMIs (normal and overweight) felt about their self-esteem when they looked at advertising that featured skinny, moderately heavy and heavy models. The results? Most of us already know…
When the female participants with normal BMIs looked at media images of heavy models, researchers noted that the women felt better about themselves. But when they looked at images of thin models they felt worse – because they felt dissimilar. They also felt worse when they looked at images of moderately heavy models – because they felt similar.
However, when the overweight female participants look at the pictures of the models, they felt worse whether the models with skinny, moderately heavy or heavy.
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“Our findings indicate that social comparison processes and subsequent self‐evaluative and behavioral outcomes are different for individuals differing in their BMI,” the researchers said of their study that was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. “We recommend that overweight consumers attempt to avoid looking at ads with any models, thin or heavy (perhaps by avoiding women’s magazines).”
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