The effect of television on body dissatisfaction
Snyder, Abigail Lynne
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Evidence of the sociological importance of television and body dissatisfaction and their relationship is presented, combining social psychological and communication theories. This study is an attempt to apply a framework of cultivation theory to body dissatisfaction. Three aspects of body dissatisfaction are explored: body shame, drive for thinness, and drive for muscularity. A survey is constructed to measure amount of television watched, television and social comparison, and salience of weight in family of origin; and data was collected from 370 undergraduates. Gender effects (resonance in cultivation theory) are posited and not supported. Cultivation theory is not supported. The amount of television watched did not have a significant effect on measures of body dissatisfaction. Cultivation theory appears insensitive to the social factors that have the most effect on the experience of body dissatisfaction. Social comparison, dieting, and family relations were found to be important influences on body dissatisfaction.