Media image eating disorders – Literature review

Gordon, Kimberly (2010) Media image eating disorders – Literature review. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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This review aims to critically analyse the literature which considers the relationship between the media’s portrayal of the ‘ideal body image’ and adolescent eating disorders. Currently within Western society, the media endorses a thin-ideal for females and a lean, muscular-ideal for males.

A critical review was chosen to deconstruct the evident debate within the literature as to whether the media is solely to blame for eating disorder development or whether other risk factors are involved, which increase an individual’s vulnerability to media exposure. The findings from this review provide support for the complex media-eating disorder relationship for adolescents, who are particularly influenced by the ‘ideal body image’, due to their stage of development. When analysing the literature and critiquing sociocultural models and theories, it became apparent that adolescents are likely to engage in social comparison processes with Western cultural standards of beauty within the media. This has been shown to increase the risk of body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem, ultimately contributing to the development of disordered eating and weight-control behaviours. These risk factors were also found to increase an individual’s vulnerability to the influence of the media and have been perceived to provide an explanation as to why it is only certain adolescents who develop an eating disorder as a result of this influence.

Furthermore, effective eating disorder prevention/intervention programs have been discussed, to provide recommendations for appropriate support and advice which can be used in healthcare practice to prevent the development of eating disorders amongst adolescents. Such recommendations include increased education for healthcare professionals to raise their awareness of the media-eating disorder relationship, in addition to health promotion on healthy eating, weight-control and body image for adolescents. Despite these findings, future research focusing on male adolescents and a variety of different cultures is required to investigate the media-eating disorder relationship further.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2011 09:46
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 15:39

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