Volume 3

Women’s Reaction to Negative Appearance-Based Commentary and its Relation to Body Satisfaction

Catherine M. Andreottola & Catherine E. Adamson

Female college students (n = 119) were randomly assigned to read one of three scenarios including negative comments toward the scenario character’s abdomen, thighs, or overall body. Participants then completed measures to assess reactions to the scenario character’s weight issue, as well as their own self-image, fear of becoming fat, preoccupation with weight and appearance, behavioral tendencies usually accompanying body image disturbances, and feelings toward particular body parts. Results indicated that participants viewed negative comments specific to the scenario character’s abdomen as more cruel than those directed toward her thighs or overall body. Results also showed that overweight participants judged the negative comments about the character’s body and weight related issues as more cruel than did non-overweight participants. Additionally, participants with a high level of body dissatisfaction reacted more negatively to body comments than did those with low body dissatisfaction. Finally, results indicated that preoccupation with weight and appearance was positively associated with the weight-related issues of concern.

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