Positive appearance and functionality reflections can improve bodysatisfaction but do not protect against idealised media exposure.

Kate Mulgrew, Nicole Stalley, Marika Tiggemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the effectiveness of a positive appearance or functionality reflective writing task on women's body satisfaction and whether these writing task reflections offered any protective advantage when exposed to idealised imagery. Young adult women (N = 230; Mage = 23 years) wrote about positive elements of either their appearance or their body's functionality, and then were exposed to images of scenery, or thin and attractive models presented in posed or active form. Direction and amount of social comparison were also examined. Women reported immediate gains in both appearance and physical functionality satisfaction regardless of reflection type. However, neither reflection was protective against decreased satisfaction after exposure to idealised images. Greater upward comparison on either appearance or physical functionality domains was related to poorer outcomes. Our reflection task has potential to shift body focus but future research could examine multiple sessions and reflections on a broader range of self-relevant domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalBody Image
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Appearance
  • Body functionality
  • Body satisfaction
  • Fit ideal
  • Media
  • Thin ideal

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