Abstract

Fifty-one female Mount Holyoke College students participated in a study that analyzed the relationship between degree of prior media exposure, type of media, and their influence on body image and self-esteem. We hypothesized that students with high prior media exposure placed in the audiovisual condition would have the lowest overall body image and self-esteem. Inversely, students with the highest overall body image and self-esteem would be in the low prior media exposure - audio condition. The results of a 2x2 factorial analysis indicated that although there was a significant interaction between prior media exposure and type of media, there was no main effect within the variables. In conclusion, type of media or levels of prior exposure did not effect body image or self-esteem.

Introduction

Growing number of studies have indicated that various types of media influence women’s body satisfaction, self-esteem, and drive for thinness. This is also evident in the increasing amount of young women who develop eating disorders, and the observed decreased weights of today’s models and Miss America pageant contestants (Turner 1997). Young women are presently the primary audience for trendy television dramas, which depict the ideal beautiful women to be thin and perfect.

Hypothesis: Participants with high prior media exposure who are exposed to the audiovisual condition will have the lowest levels of body image and self-esteem. The participants that have the lowest levels of prior media exposure who are subjected to the audio condition will have the highest levels of body image and self-esteem.

Participants

· 80 participants from Mount Holyoke College, traditional aged and Francis Perkins students. Participants were recruited via email (i.e.-mhc announce) and from the researchers general acquaintanceships (athletic teams, friends, and campus organizations). Materials · An edited version of a three-minute audiovisual clip of Sisqo’s, "The Thong Song" · A TV/VCR

· A three-minute edited audio recording of "The Thong Song"

· A CD player

· A preliminary four question survey which obtained the name, P.O. Box numbers, and email addresses of participants, and information about how much music television and music participants are exposed to within an average week, and information about what type of music the participants listen to. (See attached)

· A nineteen question survey examining self-esteem and body satisfaction using a five-point Likert scale. (See attached)

· A two-question survey examining participants' familiarity and appreciation for the artist used in the experiment.
 
 

Procedure · Pretest questionnaire was given to participants prior to experimentation (see attached) and subsequently separated into either a high or a low prior media exposure group, based on their answers.

· Half of both the low and high prior media exposure groups were placed in an audio condition (audio recording of the song) and the other half into an audiovisual condition (music video).

· The subjects were all tested in the same room at different times in their designated condition groups. Both high and low audiovisual groups watched and listened to the five-minute clip of Sisqo’s, "The Thong song". High and low audio groups listened to the 5-minute audio recording of Sisqo's "The Thong Song."

· Participants were then asked to fill out a survey containing questions pertaining to body satisfaction, self-esteem, and music familiarity (see attached questionnaire).

· Upon completion of the questionnaire the participants were debriefed and thanked for their participation.

Results

An independent groups ANOVA was used to determine if there was a relationship between high or low prior media exposure and type of media (audio or audio visual) on body image and self esteem. There was an interaction between prior media exposure and type of media exposure. Individuals who were in the high prior media exposure audio group had lower overall body image and self esteem than individuals in the low prior media exposure audio group and individuals in the high prior media exposure audiovisual group. The graph shows that there is no significant difference in body image and self esteem between the individuals in the high prior media exposure audio group and individuals in the low prior media exposure audiovisual group. Individuals in the low prior media exposure audiovisual group had lower body image and self esteem than individuals in the high prior media exposure audiovisual group and individuals in the low prior media exposure audio group.

Discussion

In our research experiment, we hypothesized that participants with high prior media exposure who were also exposed to the audiovisual condition would have the lowest levels of overall body image and self-esteem. Inversely, the groups with low prior media exposure that were exposed to the audio condition would have the highest levels to overall body image and self-esteem. After conducting out experiment, we found that there was significant interaction between prior exposure and type of media exposure. Individuals in the high prior exposure audio condition had the lowest overall body image and self-esteem of all groups. In previous research, Proctor (et.al) experimented with the use of different types of media such as written media, audiovisual media, and audio media, on memory recall. The results found was that written communication had the highest recall audiovisual the second highest, and audio the least amount of recall. In our study we found that the audio variable had a significant impact on overall body image and self-esteem.

In conclusion we did partially find what we were hoping for (low prior media exposure group had the highest overall body image and self-esteem.) We did however have threats to our external validity because of contamination effects, selection bias, and accidental sampling. Contamination effects are because participants knew what we were studying due to preliminary emails from experimenters. Accidental sampling was due to low responsively to our mail surveys, we received more low participants than high exposure participants. There are a couple changes we would like to make to our experiment. First, to increase power by increasing the number of participants. W would also like to select a less known audio and audiovisual component.