Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Women’s Perceptions of Muscular Body Image and Its Impact on Eating Disorders

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

According to the ANAD (2015), the largest majority of people with an Eating Disorder (ED) are female college aged students. The current study along with Bonneau-Kaya and Grieve (2007) suggests this, in part, is due to the differences in society’s portrayal of gender. Research suggests mass media is the source of today’s gender and sex roles (Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014; Serdar, n.d.). Media suggests women should strive to have a drive for thinness (Pritchard & Cramblitt (2014). This thin-ideal body is unrealistic and unattainable for most women (Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014; Serdar, n.d.). Numerous studies have found a correlation between media’s drive for thinness in women and their body dissatisfaction and ED behaviors (ANAD, 2015; DeBraganza & Hausenblas, 2010; Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014;& Serdar, n.d.). The current study aims to examine whether society’s portrayal of women is a causal factor of these high rates in EDs for females. Participants for the current study took two surveys at separate times to measure how media affects eating disorders. The surveys were made up of either a media influence stressing the importance of muscularity or a thinness influence portraying the thin ideal body that media currently expresses. There was a short questionnaire and a visual representation asking participants to rank themselves on an actual scale and a desired scale for each survey. The Eating Attitudes Test (Garner et al., 1982) was used to measure ED symptoms directly after viewing one of the scales. Data was collected for each scale. Participants’ data who completed both scales wereranalyzed for a within-subjects design. Data from only one scale was used as a betweensubject. This study hypothesized that results will show ED symptoms are lower after the muscular survey than the thin survey.

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Women’s Perceptions of Muscular Body Image and Its Impact on Eating Disorders

According to the ANAD (2015), the largest majority of people with an Eating Disorder (ED) are female college aged students. The current study along with Bonneau-Kaya and Grieve (2007) suggests this, in part, is due to the differences in society’s portrayal of gender. Research suggests mass media is the source of today’s gender and sex roles (Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014; Serdar, n.d.). Media suggests women should strive to have a drive for thinness (Pritchard & Cramblitt (2014). This thin-ideal body is unrealistic and unattainable for most women (Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014; Serdar, n.d.). Numerous studies have found a correlation between media’s drive for thinness in women and their body dissatisfaction and ED behaviors (ANAD, 2015; DeBraganza & Hausenblas, 2010; Pritchard & Cramblitt, 2014;& Serdar, n.d.). The current study aims to examine whether society’s portrayal of women is a causal factor of these high rates in EDs for females. Participants for the current study took two surveys at separate times to measure how media affects eating disorders. The surveys were made up of either a media influence stressing the importance of muscularity or a thinness influence portraying the thin ideal body that media currently expresses. There was a short questionnaire and a visual representation asking participants to rank themselves on an actual scale and a desired scale for each survey. The Eating Attitudes Test (Garner et al., 1982) was used to measure ED symptoms directly after viewing one of the scales. Data was collected for each scale. Participants’ data who completed both scales wereranalyzed for a within-subjects design. Data from only one scale was used as a betweensubject. This study hypothesized that results will show ED symptoms are lower after the muscular survey than the thin survey.