Understanding the process: How mediated and peer norms affect young women's body esteem

Marina Krcmar, Steve Giles, Donald Helme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This study examined the contribution of interpersonal and mediated perceived norms to young women's body esteem among first-year college women. In addition, we examined the role of social comparison as a mediator for the relationship between norms and body esteem. Several findings were notable. First, interpersonal norms do have a significant relationship with esteem. Young women who perceived that their peers and parents to valued thinness, and that parents made comments about body appearance, had lower body esteem. In addition, mediated norms also were related to lower appearance and weight esteem. Specifically, exposure to fashion, celebrity and fitness magazines had a negative effect on young women's appearance esteem; however, this relationship was mediated by social comparison, suggesting that comparison is the mechanism by which esteem is lowered. However, for fitness magazines, the relationship between exposure and esteem was direct and held up even when social comparison was controlled for.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-130
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Body esteem
  • Interpersonal norms
  • Media norms
  • Social comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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