Examining the relationship between media and body image in African American females at a historically Black college and university

Kisha James, Tennessee State University

Abstract

According to social comparison theory, differences in rates of body dissatisfaction among women of various ethnicities can be explained by differences in the body types that women compare themselves to. Social comparison theory predicts higher rates of body dissatisfaction among African American women who compare themselves unfavorably to thin actresses and models and lower rates of body dissatisfaction among African American women who are exposed to the rounder, heavier actors and models shown in television programs with predominantly African American casts. Social comparison theory also predicts lower rates of body dissatisfaction among African American women who do not compare themselves to thin Caucasian models and actors because they more strongly identify with African American cultural norms, which treat fuller shapes positively. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between body dissatisfaction and exposure to African American actors, models, and cultural norms. The participants included at least 115 African American women who attend a historically Black college/university. They completed the Body Esteem Scale (Franzoi & Shield, 1984), the Beliefs About Attractiveness Scale–Revised (Petrie, Rogers, Johnson, & Diehl, 1996), a survey regarding television viewing habits (Schooler, Ward, Meriweather, & Caruthers, 2004) and exposure to television, movies, and magazines featuring African American and Caucasian actors and models. A multiple regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between the dependent (criterion) variable (participants' scores on the Body Esteem Scale) and the following independent (predictor) variables: (a) the number of hours per month participants reported viewing television programs with predominantly African American casts, (b) the number of hours per month participants reported viewing music videos, (c) the number of movies per month participants reported viewing, and (d) the number of magazines per month participants reported reading.^

Subject Area

African American Studies|Black Studies|Psychology, Social|Women's Studies

Recommended Citation

Kisha James, "Examining the relationship between media and body image in African American females at a historically Black college and university" (2014). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3623186.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3623186

Share

COinS