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Effect of Thin vs. Plus-Size Models: A Comparison of Body Image Ideals by Gender
Unformatted Document Text:  Ideal Body Image, 5 this endeavor rests on the acceptance of relaxed body shape norms not only by women but also by men. Therefore, in two studies we examined the effects of thin and plus-size models on perceptions of the ideal female body shape by male and female participants. These findings are discussed within the broader framework of gender differences in the perceptions of social norms of ideal female body shape. Self-Discrepancy Theory and Ideal Body Research on the psychological mechanism that underlies body dissatisfaction has yielded some interesting insights. The causal chain emerging from these studies suggests that vulnerable women internalize unrealistic body image ideals (Cusumano & Thompson, 1997), which could lead to self-discrepancies between ideal and actual body images (Harrison, 2001), which in turn could lead to negative affect or mood (Cattarin, Thompson, Thomas, & Williams, 2000), and body image dissatisfaction (Stice & Shaw, 1994; Heinberg & Thompson, 1995), the cumulative effects of which could result in eating disorders symptomatology (Stice & Shaw, 1994; Harrison & Cantor, 1997). To explain the transition from the preliminary stage of internalizing a body ideal to the more advanced stages of disordered eating, self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987) has been offered as a viable theoretical framework (Harrison, 2001; Strauman, Vookles, Berenstein, Chaiken, & Higgins, 1991). At the core of self-discrepancy theory, there are two constructs: self-concept and self-guides. The self-concept is the actual self and the self-guides are ideal self and ought self. It is important to note that self-guides arise from two standpoints: standpoint of the self and standpoint of the other. Self-discrepancy theory predicts that mismatches between the actual self-concept and the ideal or ought self-guides lead to different negative emotional and motivational states. For example, if a

Authors: Prabu, David., Liu, Kaiya. and Cortese, Juliann.
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Ideal Body Image, 5
this endeavor rests on the acceptance of relaxed body shape norms not only by women
but also by men. Therefore, in two studies we examined the effects of thin and plus-size
models on perceptions of the ideal female body shape by male and female participants.
These findings are discussed within the broader framework of gender differences in the
perceptions of social norms of ideal female body shape.
Self-Discrepancy Theory and Ideal Body
Research on the psychological mechanism that underlies body dissatisfaction has
yielded some interesting insights. The causal chain emerging from these studies suggests
that vulnerable women internalize unrealistic body image ideals (Cusumano &
Thompson, 1997), which could lead to self-discrepancies between ideal and actual body
images (Harrison, 2001), which in turn could lead to negative affect or mood (Cattarin,
Thompson, Thomas, & Williams, 2000), and body image dissatisfaction (Stice & Shaw,
1994; Heinberg & Thompson, 1995), the cumulative effects of which could result in
eating disorders symptomatology (Stice & Shaw, 1994; Harrison & Cantor, 1997).
To explain the transition from the preliminary stage of internalizing a body ideal
to the more advanced stages of disordered eating, self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987)
has been offered as a viable theoretical framework (Harrison, 2001; Strauman, Vookles,
Berenstein, Chaiken, & Higgins, 1991). At the core of self-discrepancy theory, there are
two constructs: self-concept and self-guides. The self-concept is the actual self and the
self-guides are ideal self and ought self. It is important to note that self-guides arise from
two standpoints: standpoint of the self and standpoint of the other. Self-discrepancy
theory predicts that mismatches between the actual self-concept and the ideal or ought
self-guides lead to different negative emotional and motivational states. For example, if a


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