The relation between experimental mood alteration and body image was examined. Eighty-four predominantly White students (49 women, 35 men), who provided data on height, weight, GPA, and age, experienced a mood induction (depressed, neutral, elated) by reading self-descriptive (Velten-type) statements. Participants completed 3 measures indicating how they felt and looked, and their ideal body weight. Regression analysis controlling for individual differences in mood score and body build (ponderal index) found that as experimentally induced mood decreased, participants said they felt heavier but neither how they looked nor their ideal weight was altered. For those in the low-mood condition, overweight people felt heavier but underweight people felt lighter. Women with low mood scores wanted to be lighter and men with low mood scores wanted to be heavier, suggesting that unhappiness invokes comparison with a gender stereotype of physical attractiveness.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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