The current research examines the effects of exposure to ideal images on women’s self-evaluations, taking into account the moderating influence of social contextual and individual difference factors. In Study 1, women were exposed to either ideal images of women or neutral images. Participants viewed these images in a context in which (a) men were not present, (b) men were present, or (c) men were present and made comments about some of the images. Results indicated that participants’ weight esteem was negatively affected in the ideal image/men present condition but that those in the ideal image/men comment condition actually exhibited higher levels of weight-esteem. A second study replicated the results of Study 1 and also showed that the importance participants placed on physical attractiveness influenced the effects of viewing ideal images.


Original Citation: Henderson-King, Donna, Eaaron Henderson-King, and Lisa Hoffmann. "Media Images and Women’s Self-Evaluations: Social Context and Importance of Attractiveness as Moderators." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27, no. 11 (2001): 1407-1416.

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