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      Thin Media Images Decrease Women’s Body Satisfaction: Comparisons Between Veiled Muslim Women, Christian Women and Atheist Women Regarding Trait and State Body Image


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          Research in diverse populations has often found that thin media images negatively affect women’s state body image, with many women reporting lower body satisfaction after exposure to pictures of thin models than before exposure. However, there is evidence that theistic affirmations might buffer against the negative effect of media on body image. Furthermore, religiosity and the Islamic body covering are discussed as protective factors against a negative trait body image. However, there is no experimental research on veiled Muslim women’s state body image. Therefore, the current study experimentally investigated whether the body satisfaction of veiled Muslim women ( n = 66) decreased after exposure to thin media images compared to pictures of furniture as a control condition. Christian women ( n = 90) and atheist women ( n = 74) were included as control groups, and participants were randomly assigned to the two conditions. Prior to the experimental session, participants’ trait body image was assessed using an online questionnaire comprising questions about body satisfaction, thin-ideal internalization, pressure to be thin, and physical appearance comparisons. It was found that veiled Muslim women had a more positive trait body image than did Christian women and atheist women. Accordingly, veiled Muslim women reported lower levels of thin-ideal internalization, pressure to be thin, and physical appearance comparisons than did Christian women and atheist women. The experimental findings showed that body satisfaction decreased in the experimental condition and not in the control condition, but no significant differences in pre-post changes emerged between the three groups. As the pre-post changes in body satisfaction did not differ between the three groups, veiling might not buffer against the negative effect of thin media images on state body image. Nevertheless, given the more positive trait body image of veiled Muslim women compared to Christian and atheist women, veiling might positively influence body image in the longer term. However, as additional analyses including unveiled Muslim women did not reveal differences between veiled and unveiled Muslim women, future studies should test the assumption that affiliation to Islam might be more decisive for a positive trait body image than veiling.

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          Most cited references48

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          Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia

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            The effect of experimental presentation of thin media images on body satisfaction: A meta-analytic review

            The effect of experimental manipulations of the thin beauty ideal, as portrayed in the mass media, on female body image was evaluated using meta-analysis.
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              Body image: past, present, and future.

              T Cash (2003)
              This brief editorial article introduces the new scientific journal, Body Image: An International Journal of Research, and describes its rationale and mission in relation to the history and future of the study of body image and human appearance.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                10 May 2019
                : 10
                [1] 1Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Osnabrück University , Osnabrück, Germany
                [2] 2Department of Social Psychology, Osnabrück University , Osnabrück, Germany
                [3] 3Department of Islamic Theology, Osnabrück University , Osnabrück, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Antonio Cepeda-Benito, University of Vermont, United States

                Reviewed by: Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Washington University in St. Louis, United States; Rachel Bachner-Melman, Ruppin Academic Center, Israel; Siân McLean, Victoria University, Australia

                *Correspondence: Leonie Wilhelm, leonie.wilhelm@ 123456uni-osnabrueck.de

                This article was submitted to Eating Behavior, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2019 Wilhelm, Hartmann, Becker, Kisi, Waldorf and Vocks.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 62, Pages: 14, Words: 0
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                state body image,trait body image,thin media images,veiling,religiosity,muslim women


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