Size matters : gender differences in body image dissatisfaction and the effects of media on college students in Ireland

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McHugh, Fiona
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The current study examines the influence of self-objectification on male and female college students in Ireland, and whether the media play a role in this self-objectification. Data was gathered quantitatively using a non-experimental, correlational design. A purposely devised questionnaire, combined questions relating to demograhpy (age and sex) and two measures in the form of questionnaires were used, the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale and the Media Influence Scale. Permission was sought and granted by phone and e-mail, to gain access to three, third level colleges. Participants included 45 male and 80 female samples, aged 18 years and over. The results indicated no significant difference for male and female college students on body surveillance, body shame and weight control. Also it found a negative correlation between female body surveillance and the influence of the media. In conclusion, these findings suggest that either female college students have become less body conscious, contrary to extensive literature, or that college students have become more body conscious than ever before. Author keywords: Body image dissatisfaction, self-objectification, body surveillance, body shame, media influence, social comparison theory, cultural theory, objectification theory