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The relationship between media consumption and eating disorders.

Abstract: This study examined the relationship between college women's media use and two sets of variables (disordered-eating symptomatology and a set of related variables, including body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness) and assessed the relationship between college men's media use and their endorsement of thinness for themselves and for women. We expected to find consumption of thinness-depicting and thinness-promoting (TDP) media related to disordered eating and thinness endorsement, with the social learning process of modeling accounting for the relationships. For women, media use predicted disordered-eating symptomatology, drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, and ineffectiveness. For men, media use predicted endorsement of personal thinness and dieting and select attitudes in favor of thinness and dieting for women. Magazine reading was a more consistent predictor than television viewing. Several relationships remained significant when interest in fitness and dieting as media

topics was partialled out of the analysis. Exposure to TDP media appears to be associated with a subsequent increase in eating disorder symptomatology. Selective exposure to these media based on initial interest in fitness and dieting as media topics is not a viable alternative explanation for this association.