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The influence of media exposure on body image and health behaviors: Does personality make a difference?

7 October 2013


Thin ideal images are represented throughout the media both in print and on screen. Women in the media are portrayed as thin while men are portrayed as muscular. Exposure to these unrealistic representations in the media often is associated with individuals experiencing body dissatisfaction and participating in unhealthy behaviors. Personality differences are one explanation as to why individuals react to images in the media differently. Neuroticism specifically has been found to be associated with body dissatisfaction and detrimental health behaviors whereas agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extroversion have been associated with positive health behaviors. The present study further examines the relationships between personality style, media exposure, body image and dissatisfaction, as well as health behaviors. Male and female participants 18 years and older completed an online survey regarding their current health behaviors, evaluation of body image quality of life, body dissatisfaction, personality traits, and media exposure. Neuroticism was negatively associated with body image quality of life and healthy activities, and was positively associated with body dissatisfaction. Extraversion was positively associated with body image quality of life. Conscientiousness was associated with healthy activities and health consciousness. Use of active types of media was associated with participation in various types of physical activity.


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