Research suggests that appearance focused social comparisons are associated with body image disturbances. This study utilized ecological momentary assessment to examine associations between appearance focused social comparisons to media images and peers and body image disturbance and affect. Appearance focused cognitive distortions were examined as a moderator. Ninety-three undergraduate women from a large public Midwestern university in the United States completed questionnaires assessing the nature, frequency, and consequences of appearance focused social comparisons. Compared to no comparison, media comparisons were associated with greater body checking, negative affect, and guilt; peer comparisons were associated with greater body checking and guilt. Cognitive distortions moderated the relationship between appearance focused social comparisons and body checking. Specifically, the relationship between peer comparisons and body checking was strengthened at higher levels of appearance focused cognitive distortions. When only upward comparisons were considered, the relationships between both media and peer comparisons and body checking were strengthened at higher levels of appearance focused cognitive distortions. These results have implications for the treatment of body dissatisfaction.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 25, 2011
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