Form or function: Does focusing on body functionality protect women from body dissatisfaction when viewing media images?

Kate Mulgrew, Marika Tiggemann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    We examined whether shifting young women’s (N =322) attention toward functionality components of media-portrayed idealized images would protect against body dissatisfaction. Image type was manipulated via images of models in either an objectified body-as-object form or active body-as-process form; viewing focus was manipulated via questions about the appearance or functionality of the models. Social comparison was examined as a moderator. Negative outcomes were most pronounced within the process-related conditions (body-as-process images or functionality viewing focus) and for women who reported greater functionality comparison. Results suggest that functionality-based depictions, reflections, and comparisons may actually produce worse outcomes than those based on appearance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)84-94
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Health Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • body functionality
    • body satisfaction
    • body-as-object
    • body-as-process
    • media

    Cite this