Meghan Malehorn

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Lori Gano-Overway

Degree Award Date

Spring 2005


media, exercise dependence, perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, college females


Human Factors Psychology | Psychology | Social Psychology


The purpose of this study was to further examine the influence of media on body dissatisfaction in women. Specifically, this study will look at body dissatisfaction at a neutral time, after viewing images of thin models, and after viewing images of average and plus size models and any changes that may occur in body dissatisfaction after viewing each set of images. Secondly, this study looked at the influence of perfectionism on body dissatisfaction when observing thin models and average/plus size models. Third, this study examined the relationship between body dissatisfaction and perfectionism, and body dissatisfaction and exercise dependence. Participants were 61 college females ages 18 - 22 who completed self reported measures of body dissatisfaction, perfectionism, and exercise dependence as well as measures of body dissatisfaction after looking at media images of thin and average and plus size images over a span of time. This study found a relationship between viewing images of average and plus size models and a shift in the participants ideal body. This supports research that images of average and plus size models do impact individuals and can help individuals to feel more satisfied with their bodies. Although my research did not support an overall relationship between body dissatisfaction and media, its implications support a potential relationship. Although media has an impact on body dissatisfaction, this research also supported perfectionism as an indicator of body dissatisfaction. Along with body dissatisfaction, perfectionism was also correlated with exercise dependence supporting the original hypothesis. Body dissatisfaction and its implications are growing, and further research into body dissatisfaction and factors which may lead to it could one day help our society become more satisfied with their bodies.