Effect of athletic media images on women's body dissatisfaction and drive for muscularity
A number of studies have been conducted which have found that body dissatisfaction, which can cause eating disorders, is affected by unrealistically thin media images and other societal influences. This study expanded previous research and tested how muscularity, in combination with thinness, can affect women's weight-focused body esteem and drive for muscularity. It was expected that women who view the thin-only images would have decreased weight-focused body esteem but no change in drive for muscularity. Those viewing the muscular images would have a change in both weight focused body esteem and drive for muscularity, and the participants viewing the hyper-muscular images would have decreased weight focused body esteem but no change in drive for muscularity. Female participants (N = 201) participated in this study. Results revealed that females reported lower weight focused body esteem after viewing the thin-only images. Those who viewed the muscular images reported less weight focused body esteem but no change in drive for muscularity, and those who viewed the hyper-muscular images reported no change in weight focused body esteem but a lowered drive for muscularity at posttest. Exploratory analyses regarding perceived attractiveness of different images were also conducted, with interesting interactions between study condition and pre-existing desire for muscularity. Limitations and implications of this study are discussed.