Lege Artis Medicinae

[Evaluation of body image by means of body shape test and the priming phenomenon]

KOVÁCS Gyöngyvér Xénia1, PRIEVARA Dóra Katalin2, PIKÓ Bettina1

SEPTEMBER 20, 2015

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2015;25(08-09)

[INTRODUCTION - Body image plays a significant role in the way how the individuals evaluate their own health and in the motivation for health promotion and disease prevention. Consumer culture provides controversial messages for the population, on one hand it motivates to try foods of high calories, on the other hand it also supports the thin body for the ideal. Not surprisingly, besides obesity, eating disorders and distorted body image disorders also tended to increase during the past decades. Therefore, it would be relevant to investigate the background variables of body image. METHODS - One hundred and sixty seven healthy working adults participated in our study that included a self-completed, voluntary and anonymous questionnaire with a focus on the so called body shape test. First, based on projecting figures on slides, the participants evaluated their own figure and the ideal one as perceived by them. Then we projected figures of skinny models. After this they re-evaluated themselves. The goal of this investigation was to detect the priming effect of projecting slim figures that is frequently used in the media. RESULTS - Based on the projection of the skinny models, there was a change in 55.6% of the sample in the evaluation of one’s own figure. On a Likert-type scale of 1-7 points, previously they had evaluated themselves with an average of 3.23 points (thinness scale) that turned into 3.35 after the projection of the skinny models. In addition, their view about their own ideal body (4.57 points), and about female and male ideal body also changed into a slimmer one. These changes were statistically significant (p < .001) by paired t-test both for men and women. Finally, men and women did not show significant difference in the evaluation of female and male ideal body. CONCLUSIONS - These results justified the role of the pictures’ priming effect in body image both in terms of the perception of one’s own figure and the ideal body. The change was particularly relevant in the case of evaluation of one’s own figure due to the choice of the slimmer body as compared to the view of the ideal body. Evaluation of female and male ideal body was similar to the first projection of the pictures as compared to what they would think as ideal for themselves. After the projection images of the female and male ideal body moved to the slimmer figures in a smaller account as compared to the own ideal body image. All these suggest that pictures projected by the media may have a significant role in the population’s body image. Clarifying the phenomenon may help in health promotion and dieting related disease prevention. ]


  1. Szegedi Tudományegyetem, ÁOK, Magatartástudományi Intézet
  2. Szegedi Tudományegyetem, BTK, Neveléstudományi Doktori Iskola



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