Based on social comparison theory, this study explores how interest in celebrities’ post-baby bodies relates to body image disturbance after childbirth in South Korean women. Previous studies have shown that the media have glamorized celebrities who quickly lose their baby weight. Given the established relationship between thin media images and body image disturbance, the present study investigates whether this relationship, which has been studied mainly in female undergraduates and adolescents in Western countries, might apply to postpartum Korean women. An online survey questionnaire was completed by 345 women, recruited from across the country, who had given birth to a child within one year of the survey date. The results shows that interest in celebrities’ post-pregnancy bodies is positively associated with social comparison behavior (i.e., comparison of their bodies to those of others), which is in turn positively linked to body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. These two otherwise simple mediation models were differently moderated by public self-consciousness (i.e., the tendency to compare oneself to others). In predicting body dissatisfaction, public self-consciousness moderated the relationship between social comparison behavior and body dissatisfaction. In predicting drive for thinness, public self-consciousness moderated the association between interest in celebrities’ post-baby bodies and social comparison behavior. The findings confirm the effect of media representations of postpartum celebrities as a beauty standard for non-celebrities, and the role played in this process by both actual comparison behavior and the tendency for comparison.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 2, 2014
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