We examined whether shifting young women’s (N =322) attention toward functionality components of media-portrayed idealized images would protect against body dissatisfaction. Image type was manipulated via images of models in either an objectified body-as-object form or active body-as-process form; viewing focus was manipulated via questions about the appearance or functionality of the models. Social comparison was examined as a moderator. Negative outcomes were most pronounced within the process-related conditions (body-as-process images or functionality viewing focus) and for women who reported greater functionality comparison. Results suggest that functionality-based depictions, reflections, and comparisons may actually produce worse outcomes than those based on appearance.
Journal of Health Psychology / Vol. Article in press