Published: 19 November 2008
UQ research 'waifs' goodbye to poor body image
The potential of using more realistic models in the mass media in place of ultra-thin and ultra-muscular images is the focus of research by UQ PhD candidate Phillippa Diedrichs.
Ms Diedrichs is investigating the use of average-sized female and male models to sell products, and what impact this will have on promoting positive body image.
She said there was a well established relationship between exposure to unrealistic body types in the mass media and poor body image, disordered eating and exercising behaviours for both men and women.
Ms Diedrichs created a series of mock advertisements for a range of beauty, clothing and accessory products where more than 300 men and women, aged 18-25, viewed the advertisements which featured either size 8-10 or 14 female models.
"They rated how likely they would be to buy the products in the advertisements and how they felt about their own body image after seeing the ads," she said.
"Both men and women rated the advertisements featuring the average-size models as equally effective as the advertisements featuring the thinner models.
"Also, women who saw the size 14 models felt significantly better about their own bodies in comparison to those who saw the thinner models."
Ms Diedrichs said her research offered exciting implications that could be made to promote positive body image.
"It is often argued that only thin models will sell. However, my research indicates that average-size models may be just as effective in advertisements and that many consumers actually want to see more realistic models," she said.
"In October this year, Australian Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, proposed the development of a new voluntary media code of conduct for advertising, models and airbrushing.
"My research provides an evidence-base for this, by demonstrating that presenting more average-sized models in the media has the potential to improve body image."
Ms Diedrichs will now focus on the media, fashion and advertising industries.
"I'll be interviewing magazine editors and people from the fashion and advertising industries to find out what they think about average-size models and to tell them about my research in an effort to encourage change in the media," she said.
Ms Diedrichs is under the supervision of Professor Christina Lee, from the Health Psychology Research Unit in the School of Psychology.
She is also an Intern Health Psychologist, studying a Masters of Health Psychology and her research interests include health promotion, the sociocultural context of health, body image, health at every size, weight stigma, and health in developing countries.
Media: Phillippa Diedrichs (07 3365 6830 or 0410 547 913), or Eliza Plant at UQ Communications (07 3365 2619)
Translate This Story
- Bridgeworks to affect two Sunday bus services
- UQ celebrates Indonesian citizen journalism leader
- Depression linked to almost doubled stroke risk in middle-aged women
- Brisbane lawyer named 2012 UQ Law Mentor of the Year
- Park ranger gig might be UQ alumnus' 'best job ever'
- UQ scientist wins top prize for battling disease
- Diversity Week gets under way
- More Latest News
Enter your email address to subscribe.