Masters Thesis

The role of different types of physical exercise in women's body satisfaction responses to idealized media images

The first purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of idealized media images from fashion magazines on women’s body satisfaction. The second purpose of the present study was to determine whether body satisfaction would increase after an exercise condition. The third purpose of the study was to decipher which exercise condition (aerobic or mind-body) influenced body satisfaction the greatest. There has been much disagreement amongst researchers over the issue of whether or not thin ideal media influences women’s body dissatisfaction. Women are exposed to idealized media images daily, through television, movies, magazines, etc. In the current study, one group of women was exposed to images of unrealistically thin women in fashion magazines while the control group did not look at magazine images. Body satisfaction scores were compared between both groups to determine if fashion magazines had a negative effect on women’s body satisfaction. Following the magazine condition, body satisfaction scores were compared between women in both exercise groups (aerobic/mind-body) before and after working out. The results indicated that magazine images did not have a significant negative effect on body satisfaction. Furthermore, exercise did not have a statistically significant effect in raising body satisfaction. Limitations such as the level of activity in each participants’ daily life, additional exercise types, repeated exercise sessions, and a higher number of participants should be considered by future researchers. Due to body dissatisfaction being the strongest predictor of eating disorders, it is important that further research is conducted to determine the most effective interventions for improving women’s body satisfaction.

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