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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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15

Understanding the Role of Cognition and Media in Body Image Disturbance and Weight Bias in Children, Adolescents, and Adults

Kim Bissell

ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the role of cognition and media as it relates to body image disturbances and weight bias in children, adolescents, and adults. Specifically, this chapter examines the multidimensional factors related to an individual's body image and further examines how these variables relate to prejudice or anti-fat bias against others. Exposure to thin-ideal media and related effects on an individual's self-perception are examined in the areas of self-discrepancy, body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and body self-esteem. This chapter further examines the relationship between media and obesity with a look at the role media potentially play in the development of overweight or obesity in children. Lastly, this chapter will synthesize work in the area of media, cognition, and body image from a theoretical perspective and offer suggestions for the direction of future research.

Media and Body Size and Shape

Younger children spend approximately 25% of their time awake watching television, exposing them to television characters and images that reinforce notions about the importance of thinness and attractiveness (Harrison, 2000b; Yamamiya, Cash, Mlnyk, Posavac, & Posavac, 2005). During this important developmental stage, children are said to form many of their attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about their own body shape and ...

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