The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between media exposure and body image concerns in preteenage girls, with a particular focus on the Internet. A sample of 189 girls (aged 10-12 years) completed questionnaire measures of media consumption and body image concerns. Nearly all girls (97.5%) had access to the Internet in their home. Time spent on-line was significantly related to internalization of the thin ideal (as was time reading magazines and watching television), body surveillance, reduced body esteem, and increased dieting. In accord with the sociocultural model, internalization mediated the effect of the Internet on body image concerns. Further, 14% of the girls had a MySpace profile and 43% had a Facebook profile. Time spent on these social networking sites produced stronger correlations with body image concern than did overall Internet exposure. It was concluded that the Internet represents a potent sociocultural force among preteenage girls.
- body image
- internalization of thin ideals
- media exposure
- social networking sites