Searching Out the Ideal: Awareness of Ideal Body Standards Predicts Lower Global Self-esteem in Women

Emily Balcetis, Shana Cole, Marie B. Chelberg, Mark Alicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Does awareness of female body ideals affect women's global self-esteem? We measured awareness of ideal standards for beauty via two approaches. As one approach, participants (55 undergraduate women) self-reported their general propensity to be aware of society's thin ideal standard. As a second approach, we measured visual attention orienting to ideal standards; we covertly measured participants' eye movements to peers' purported ideal standards. Self-reported awareness predicted lower baseline self-esteem; this relationship was mediated by internalization of the thin ideal. Awareness as assessed through attention orienting to peers' ideal standards predicted decreases in global self-esteem, above the effects of self-reported awareness, internalization, and actual measures of physical fitness. Implications for awareness of ideal standards and the media's portrayal of the thin ideal are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalSelf and Identity
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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Self Concept
Beauty
Physical Fitness
Eye Movements

Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Body image
  • Eye tracking
  • Self-esteem
  • Thin ideal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Searching Out the Ideal : Awareness of Ideal Body Standards Predicts Lower Global Self-esteem in Women. / Balcetis, Emily; Cole, Shana; Chelberg, Marie B.; Alicke, Mark.

In: Self and Identity, Vol. 12, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 99-113.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Balcetis, Emily ; Cole, Shana ; Chelberg, Marie B. ; Alicke, Mark. / Searching Out the Ideal : Awareness of Ideal Body Standards Predicts Lower Global Self-esteem in Women. In: Self and Identity. 2013 ; Vol. 12, No. 1. pp. 99-113.
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