Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Self-Esteem, Body Image and Appearance Management Behaviors among Korean and Caucasian-American Women: Associations to Attitudes toward Social Comparison and Model's Ethnicity in Advertisements
by Yang, Miran, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2013, 183; 10631396
Abstract (Summary)

A thin body and an attractive face are considered to define the desirable feminine beauty ideal and this narrow concept of beauty has been promoted through mass media. Women often compare themselves with the idealized images in the media and such comparisons may lead to body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Individuals who are dissatisfied with their body are likely to engage in appearance management behaviors, such as makeup, dieting, eating disorders, and cosmetic surgery. Sociocultural theory has been used to explain the development of body dissatisfaction as negative effects of exposure to the societal beauty ideal (Posavac, Posavac, & Posavac, 1998) and social comparison theory has been used to explain how women experience body dissatisfaction and psychological problems, such as lower self-esteem and eating disorders (Richins, 1991).

The level of attitudes toward social comparison an individual holds may be an important predictor of the negative outcomes of exposure to ideal media images. In addition, the impact of exposure to ideal media images may differ by similarity or dissimilarity of a comparison target to the person making the comparison. Thus, this study examined the association of attitudes toward social comparison to female models in advertisements with self-esteem, body image, and appearance management behaviors among Korean and Caucasian-American women. Furthermore, this study investigated the association of attitudes toward social comparison by model type (i.e., Korean vs. Caucasian models) as a comparison reference with self-esteem, body image and appearance management behaviors. This study also examined how strongly a female body figure is valued on dimensions of thinness and attractiveness among Korean and Caucasian-American women.

Results of this study found a negative association of attitudes toward social comparison with self-esteem and body image, and a positive association with appearance management behaviors among both Korean and Caucasian-American participants. Korean women showed stronger attitudes toward comparison with a similar comparison target. There was a positive impact of attitudes toward social comparison with a similar comparison target on body image among the two groups. Both Korean and Caucasian-American women considered average-size models as more attractive than thin models. The findings of this study provide support for the idea that social comparison with models in the media would result in body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem, and more appearance management behavior tendencies. Similarity of the comparison target to the person making the comparison may moderate the effect of social comparison. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed based on the findings of this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rudd, Nancy A.
Commitee: Cunningham, Patricia, Kandampully, Jay, Rudd, Nancy A., Seiling, Sharon
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Human Ecology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Asian American Studies, Social psychology, Psychology, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Appearance management behaviors, Body image, Cross-cultural, Self-esteem, Social comparison, Social comparison target
Publication Number: 10631396
ISBN: 978-0-355-01643-7
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