Date of Conferral







Hannah Lerman


Body objectification theories propose that humans have an innate desire to compare themselves with others. When self-objectification is influenced by media exposure to idealized body images, results may be unrealistic self-perceptions and increased risk of depression, eating pathology, and overexercising. Although considerable work has been done to study these processes among women, much less is known about effects of media exposure on adult men. In response to this gap, this quantitative research study examined effects of exposure to an idealized man's body image on men observers' body dissatisfaction and related behaviors. A convenience sample of 119 freshman and sophomore community college men ranging in ages 18 to 29 was assigned to 1 of 2 conditions where they were exposed to images of male models with idealized bodies or to a neutral landscape image (independent variable). They completed questions to assess their body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, disordered eating, and depression. BMI and workout frequency also were assessed as covariates. It was predicted that body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, disordered eating, and depression scores would be higher for the group exposed to the idealized body images, as compared with neutral images. The research hypotheses were tested using ANCOVA analyses. No statistically significant between-group differences were found for any of the dependent variables. Design limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed. This study has social significance as it helps to keep the focus of researchers and mental health providers on media exposure as a risk factor among males for negative body image and related behaviors.