Social Psychology Project Essay

1419 words - 6 pages

The focus of this research is how peers and media influence the development of body satisfaction and self-esteem in preadolescent girls ranging in ages 5 through 10. This study is interesting because it shows how impressionable children, especially girls, can be. It also shows, at least as far as the limitations of the study shown, that parents learn to communicate to their children regarding outside influences. According to this study, “This highlights that young girls also live in an appearance focused environment in which the thin ideal body image is transmitted through multiple sources such as peers and the media. The resulting desire for the thin ideal appears to already be having a negative impact on young girls’ developing self-esteem.” The hypotheses for this study are 1) whether peer and media influences are temporally precursors to body dissatisfaction in young girls, consistent with their proposed connecting role and 2) to examine the direction of the association between self-esteem and body dissatisfaction in young girls.
The subjects of this study came from a convenience sample of 97 young girls from Australia. The girls were originally from part of a larger sample for which cross-sectional results had been reported, time 1, and were also available for follow up 12 months later, time 2. At time 1, the girls were between ages 5 and 8. At time 2, the ages ranged from 6 to 10 years old. All measures were administered as individual interviews that lasted 15-20 minutes for both time 1 and time 2. Most of the questions required a simple yes, no, or I don’t know response.
The variables in this study that were measured are: Body Satisfaction, Self-Esteem, Peer Influences, Media Influences, and Body Mass Index. Body Satisfaction was evaluated using two different measures: desire for thinness and appearance satisfaction. Desire for thinness was measured with the girls’ version of the Children’s Figure Rating Scale. This scale presents on an A3-sized bright-colored piece of cardboard nine young female silhouette drawings, ranging from very thin to very fat. Girls were asked “Which girl do you think you look like?” followed by “Which girl would you most like to look like?” Girls responded by pointing to their choices. Desire for thinness was calculated as current minus ideal figure rating. Appearance satisfaction was measured by using a pictorial format. Girls were shown two pictures and told, “This girl is happy with the way she looks at the moment (picture 1) and “This girl is not happy with the way she looks at the moment (picture 2).They were then asked which girl was most like them. Follow up question ranged from “are you always or usually happy” with scoring either 4 or 3 plus picture 1, or usually or always not happy, 2 or 1 point plus picture 2, with the way you look? A higher score showed greater appearance satisfaction. Self-esteem was measured using the Global Self-worth Scale of the Self-Perception Profile for Children. This...

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