Author: Inja Erceg Jugović, Gordana Kuterovac Jagodić


Mass media such as print and visual media have great infl uence in transfering sociocultural ideals of body appearance and highlighting the desirability of certain physical characteristics which can affect body image, ecpecially in adolescents because of a vulnerable period they are in. Body image is a subjective representation of one’s physical appearance that refl ects perceptions, opinions and feelings connected to one’s body. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences and the differences between girls and boys in early and late adolescence in perceived media infl uence on body image. 430 students of 5th, 6th and 7th grade of primary school (early adolescence: M=12.21; SD=.948; 47.1% girls) and 626 students of 3rd and 4th grade of secondary schools (late adolescence: M=17.15, SD=.601; 58.2% girls) fi lled in the media infl uence scale of The Perceived Sociocultural Infl uences on Body Image and Body Change Questionnaire (McCabe & Ricciardelli, 2001). Results show that girls experience more powerful media infl uence on weight loss, whereas boys experience more media infl uence on body weight gain and muscularity. Girls in late adolescence compared to those in early adolescence perceive more media infl uence on weight loss, and boys on weight gain. These results are understandable due to the increasing sociocultural desirability of thin female body and muscular male body which represent the ideals of female and male body appearance. Age differences in the perceived media infl uence on body image are explainable by increasing awareness of the ideal body image during adolescence. Findings of this research show the importance of raising the awareness of the infl uence that media have on body image and may serve as guidance in designing prevention and intervention programs of body dissatisfaction.

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