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Written and pictorial content

in magazines
and their potential
relationship to eating
disorders
Kornélia Szabó & Ferenc Túry
Semmelweis University
Institute of Behavioural Sciences
Budapest, Hungary

Alpbach, 2011

Table of contents • • • • Magazines and eating pathology Magazine contents Magazine covers and headlines Summary .

1996. highschool females).3 hours per week1 • More than 98% of females read women’s beauty and fashion magazines at least once a year2 • 60%: once a month. gender role endorsement – identity development. 2002 (n=536.Magazines • Time spent reading magazines: 83% of adolescent girls read fashion magazines for an average of 4. personality – concerns with physical appearance and eating behaviours 1Levine & Smolak. 38% twice a month or more3 • Magazines influence or shape: – personal values about thinness – gender socialization. 2Thomsen. 2002 (n=502. Weber & Brown. & Williams. 3Thomsen. college-age women) . Mccoy. Gustafson.

3Bissell & Zhou (2004). 2002. 2Harrison & Cantor. Thompson. 4Stice. 7Stice 2002. Schupak-Neuberg. 6 van den Berg. 1997. .2. 2002. 5Durkin & Paxton.Magazine reading and eating pathology • • • • • • 1Morry Body (dis)satisfaction1. & Coovert. Obremski-Brandon. and Stein (1994).4 Higher among those at risk for ED (vulnerability)7 & Staska.6 Eating disorder symptomatology2. Shaw. 2001.3.4 Internalization1 Drive for thinnes2 Social comparison5.

. unhealthy.6% girls – used for improving weight and shape – Exercise • Both males and females 1van den Berg.2 • Importance of muscularity/thinness • Methods to obtain these perfect bodies – Dietary restraint behaviour1. 2Thomsen.7% boys/ 1. 2007.diet pills2 – Supplements4: 4..diets3. Neumark-Sztainer. 2002. 2003. .Magazine reading and weight control methods/techniques • Frequency of healthy. 4Field et al. 2005. 3Utter et al. and extreme weightcontrol behaviours1. Hannan and Haines. Weber & Brown.

Written (ED-stories) 3.Magazine contents 1. Pictorial (slim/muscular models) 2. Covers and headlines . Advertisements 4. Nutrition/Fitness/ Diet content 5.

.2002: Meta analytic review .Pictorial magazine content • Cultural representation of thinness • Slim women/Muscular men • Change over time (1960-2011) • Body image is significantly more negative after viewing thin media images1 1Groesz et al.

2001 . 2007. 2010.3 • Medical views about causation and treatment are more salient in later years2 1O’Hara and Clegg-Smith. 3Bishop.Written magazine content • Media mostly sensationalizes.3 • ED stories are most often told about celebrities1 • Clinical complications and medical treatments are rarely mentioned1. 2Shepherd & Seale. simplifies ED.2.stories1.

42 popular magazine articles were coded: -illness type -mention of weight loss -disordered behaviours -health impacts • Anorexics are more often profiled • Disordered behaviours as achieving „weight loss” is more often mentioned than their physical consequences . 2006: A 5 year long study.Written magazine content • Inch & Merali.

2009.. 2Silverstein & DiDomenico. 4Evans et al.Advertisements in magazines • Weight loss advertisements: – Nearly 40% of weight loss ads make a representation that is almost certainly false1 • 10 times more diet ads or articles in women magazines2 • Food advertising increasingly portrays food as a type of medicine3 1Federal Trade Comission report. 1991 . 3Zwier. 2002. 1992.

1994 . appearance and weight loss • Statements that the product or service would promote weight loss were found in 47% of nutritionrelated advertisements1 1Guillen & Barr.Nutrition/Fitness/Diet related magazine content • Increase in content1 – Dieting – Exercise – Combined plans • Focus on body shape.

2007 .. beautiful and attractive to men1 • Malkin et al.Magazine covers and headlines • Diet and body image related headlines1 • Women should be thin. 1999: – 78% of female magazine covers contained messages regarding bodily appearance – 25% of covers contained conflicting messages regarding weight loss and dietary habits – Positioning: losing weight may lead to a better life 1Davalos et al.

2006. motivational factors) • Direct media effects may be small to modest1. 2002. but the combination of direct and indirect effects may be considerable2 1Groesz et al. Levine et al. 2Harrison & Hefner.Summary • • • • Media is not necessarily a causal risk factor Media is interacting with other variables Media literacy prevention programs are important More research is needed (longitudinal studies... 1994. .

THE END kornelia.sote.hu .szabo@net.