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Social Comparison Goals and the Consumption of Advertising: Towards a More Contingent View of Young Women's Consumption of Advertising

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Abstract:

In this paper we use a small-scale exploratory study to challenge current interpretations of the potential effects of the portrayals of women in print advertising on young women's self-esteem and body image. We examine how young women's self-perception and self-esteem may be affected depending on their goal for social comparison: self-evaluation, self-improvement and self-enhancement. The results indicate that the goal for social comparison is an important moderating influence on how advertising images are interpreted and consumed. The findings confirm and extend earlier studies; and provide support for challenging prevalent views of women, firstly as passive consumers of advertising messages; secondly, as necessarily susceptible to negative self assessment in response to ideal images in advertising; and thirdly as pursuing only one goal in their consumption of advertising.

Keywords: CONSUMPTION OF ADVERTISING IMAGERY; SELF EVALUATION; SELF IMPROVEMENT; SELF-ENHANCEMENT; SOCIAL COMPARISON; YOUNG WOMEN

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725703322498091

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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