When media become the mirror: a meta-analysis on media and body image

Qian Huang, Wei Peng, Soyeon Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A growing body of research on the media’s effects on body image suggests that media of different forms plays a vital role in shaping people’s body image concerns and behavioral intentions. By conducting a comprehensive meta-analysis of published and gray literature (in total 127 studies yielding 543 effect sizes of seven measures), this study examined the relationship between media and a wide range of body image-related outcomes as well as moderators (e.g., media type, outcome type, age group, gender proportion in the sample, and study design). The analysis demonstrated that the magnitude of this relationship significantly varied across media types (i.e., television commercial, television program, magazine commercial, magazine contents, and social media) and outcome types (i.e., affective, cognitive, or behavioral outcomes). Moreover, there were three major findings of this meta-analysis: 1) both women and men of all age groups across multiple countries could be affected by thin/athletic-ideal media exposure; 2) media with a commercial purpose compared to those with no commercial purpose was less effective in increasing body image concerns; 3) media exposure was the most influential in provoking the eating disorder and the internalization of thin-ideal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMedia Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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