Attentional bias for negative self-words in young women The role of thin ideal priming and body shape dissatisfaction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous research suggests that body dissatisfied women are particularly susceptible to negative affect following exposure to thin media images, whereas body satisfied women may even respond positively to such images. It was thus hypothesised that negative self-referent information would be more accessible in body dissatisfied women than in women satisfied with their bodies after viewing thin ideal images. Such activation of negative self-schemata was expected to be reflected through delayed colour-naming of negative self-referent words on the emotional Stroop task. Eighty-seven young women were randomised either to a thin ideal priming condition or a neutral priming condition, before undergoing an emotional Stroop task with performance-related and interpersonal-related threat words. There was a significant interaction between body dissatisfaction and thin ideal priming on attentional bias for performance words. This effect was most clearly seen in the body satisfied group, who were faster to colour-name performance words after priming. Further, this group showed an increase in self-esteem after testing. These findings may suggest that body satisfied women responded positively to thin ideal images. Alternatively, the facilitation effect of negative performance words may have been indicative of strategic avoidant processing serving to protect against negative impact of thin ideal exposure.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology

Keywords

  • Attentional bias, Priming, Body satisfaction, Emotional Stroop task
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-733
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume38
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes