Influences Of Body Disstaisfaction

Categories: Body ArtBody Image

Society regards thinness as a sign of beauty, resulting in high rates of body dissatisfaction developing in young women. Content portrayed on social media highlights the glamorous aspects of life; this digital illusion illuminates a plethora of unrealistic beauty ideals. Additionally, poor body image leads to serious effects on physical and psychological well-being such as eating disorders, which generate the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders (Agras et al., 2004). The cultural norm of a thin beauty ideal is internalized through different aspects of life.

However, the impact of the various influences is debated by academics. Two social science research studies integrate their empirical methodology to provide novel information to an audience looking for a better understanding to the causes of body dissatisfaction: the major predictor of the onset of eating disorders. Psychology and communication, the two disciplines conducting the study, combine their intellectual resources to understand the complex inner world of self and how perceptions create unfavorable outcomes. Particularly, the studies interconnect by analyzing how communication on social media and peer comparison negatively affects the mind to create a poor body image.

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By providing further viewpoints of acquired understanding, the interdisciplinary nature of this research advances the improvements needed in theories and treatments for body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.

Social sciences seek to answer the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of human behavior, thus pertaining to many disciplines including psychology and communication. Similarly, the purpose of psychology is to describe, explain, predict and control behavior through the mental process (Rodgers et al.

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, 2015 Pg. 2). These facets shape the specialized methodology and topics arousing inquiry within the discipline. Comorbidity is evident as past studies linked body dysmorphia, where individuals focus on perceived flaws in appearance, to psychological disorders such as depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The severity of these issues incentivize researchers to probe into the source of body dissatisfaction. By clarifying the impact of various influences, researchers can establish interventions to successfully reduce unhealthy behaviors caused by body dissatisfaction. In order to achieve this, Rachel Rogers, Sian Mclean, and Susan Paxton build on previous studies by creating a tripartite influence model to address body dissatisfaction through their psychology research report titled: “Longitudinal relationships among internalization of the media ideal, peer social comparison, and body dissatisfaction: Implications for the tripartite influence model”. The psychologists stress the importance of finding the longitudinal relationship between extensive media consumption, social appearance comparison, and body dissatisfaction as it is a developing issue among adolescent females. By conducting their study over the course of fourteen months, the researchers can better measure how the variables potentially lead to profound outcomes based on individuals’ level of change overtime. This study strengthens the field of psychology by explaining the sociocultural influences affecting unhealthy behavior linked to body dissatisfaction.

The overlap of these studies can be attributed to the similarities in the ideologies of the academic disciplines, for they both analyze influences on behavior. Communication, as a discourse community, focuses on humantarism by investigating intricate interconnections of culture on life and how different forms of communicating cause different behaviors, thus enhancing the understanding of the process of human communication. Considering this, the research journal “Concurrent and Prospective Analyses of Peer, Television and Social Media Influences on Body Dissatisfaction, Eating Disorder Symptoms and Life Satisfaction in Adolescent Girls” conducted by Ferguson, Munoz, Garza, and Galindo investigate the degree media and peer comparison contributes to emotional body issues. This scope of inquiry addresses how various outlets of communication are significant predictors to dissatisfaction. Over the course of six months, a study using well-validated tests, programs, and questionnaires measures how peer competition, social media usage, and television exposure correlate to negative body outcomes.

In contrast, the two disciplines take different approaches as to how they ask the question of what ultimately causes body dissatisfaction due to their varying ideologies. The psychological study is nomothetic, as it links fewer variables as an interconnected relationship inflating the severity of each other, whereas the communication study uses an idiographic approach to estimate more possible causes affecting body dissatisfaction. The communication journal’s purpose is to provide a deeper understanding of the debated issue and make advancements on previous studies by taking far more variables into account. On the other hand, the psychology article claims no data exists regarding the longitudinal relationship between the variables and promotes the importance of understanding how unhealthy behaviors linked to body dissatisfaction are developed through their tripartite influence model theory. This is typical of a psychology study, for their production of knowledge focuses on relationships between psychological variables

Before describing the methodology used in their study, the journals establish their reliability through listing different sources. The psychology report remarks “The study was approved by the La Trobe University Human Ethics Committee”(Rodgers, et. al. 2015 Pg.3). By proving their study aligns with ethical principles of human research, the evidence creating their conclusion can be perceived as valid; without this source, the findings are useless. Nevertheless, the communication discipline builds on evidence from previous studies when conducting research and formulating new hypothesis to create a bona fide report. The scholar points out the flaws of his past findings regarding how the media affects body dissatisfaction and eating disorders from his ferguson et al., 2009 study and aims to clarify the inconsistencies of this report through his present, better developed study (Ferguson et. al 2014 Pg.1). Not only does this showcase the background knowledge on the topic, but sheds light on the purpose of their research. Both articles seek to fill in the gaps of past similar studies when conducting their research in order to generate stronger conclusions.

The examinations are paralleled by collecting data through a self-reported questionnaire, a common method in humanity based research, used to analyze the consciously held attitudes of their subjects. The questionnaires were recorded using various scales and tests, implying proven validity, as the psychology report repeatedly writes “This scale has demonstrated good reliability in previous studies among adolescent girls” (Rodgers, et al., 2015 Pg. 4). The psychologists understand the necessity of using well founded tests to ensure the data they present is legitimate with valid conclusions. This in turn, enables others to further the line of research. Self reported measures, despite being standardized, limit the study in that responses can be biased and hard to replicate, which is pivotal to validating theories and creating accepted truth. Similarly, the communication study outlines the limitations of their methodology by explaining “accurately measuring media exposure to key variables has been historically difficult…different measurement approaches can influence outcomes” (Ferguson et al., 2014 Pg. 11). The topic’s inquiry relies heavily on the subjects’ awareness of factors that cause their emotional distress and influence their body image. Unconscious psychological barriers hinder the measurement of the influences that cause undesirable body dissatisfaction. Ultimately, both studies follow systematic research techniques that incorporate elements of quantitative and qualitative data to create productive statistical generalizations.

Likewise, the similarities of the studies are manifested through indistinguishable data visuals. Webbed models, displayed in both reports, act as an effective tool to link the variables tested, ultimately providing insight as to how the interrelation of these influences cause the epidemic of body dissatisfaction. As mentioned before, the psychology scholars narrow the scope of their study by focusing on the relationship between fewer influences, whereas the communication study takes more variables into account and measures the impact. Consequently, this creates differences in the terms presented in the webbed model connecting the variables. Additionally, both reports utilize tables to display correlations between variables and negative outcomes. However, since the communication-based study examined a broader range of influences, the table was twice the length of the one displayed in the psychology based report. The data representations made it clear that the communication study delved deeper into the topic by including the impact the factors had on the vast array of problems, such as eating disorders and life satisfaction, ultimately elevating the value of the report.

Although the journals hypothesized social media would be a major contributing factor to body dissatisfaction, the statistical analysis concluded that individuals comparing themselves to their peers was the leading cause, while media was just another source for unhealthy comparison. Furthermore, the scaled questionnaires indicated adolescents are more likely to compare themselves to peers, which resemble a closer reality of their life, rather than distant figures on television and media platforms. The breakthroughs found in solving the multidimensional phenomenon of body dissatisfaction require multiple viewpoints larger than the scope of a single discipline. Combining the two disciplines’ different perceptions, tools, and styles creates interdisciplinary research that effectively combats the issue by providing an understanding to this health epidemic. Both aspects of communication and psychology had to coherently integrate their distinct ideologies to close the gaps of previous studies and more importantly advance future research and society’s health needs.

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Influences Of Body Disstaisfaction. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from

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