Social Group Media Habits Trumps Individual's in Eating Disorders

Beauty | Body | Culture Harvard Medical School’s Anne Becker studies the impact of media on eating disorders in girls in Fiji. Because television is new to Fiji, it’s one of the few locations globally where Becker can conduct her research in a ‘pristine’ cultural state.

Becker previously determined that a rise in eating disorder symptoms among adolescent girls immediately followed the introduction of broadcast television in 1995. A more robust body shape is prized in Fiji’s indiginous culture in sharp contrast to the bodies of women actresses shown on screen.

In her latest research, Anne Becker made the startling determination that peer pressure trumped shutting off the television, in the proliferation of eating disorders among young women. If a girl’s friends were watching TV, and hers shut off, she still absorbed the body perception preferences of her social group.

Higher peer media exposure was linked to a 60 percent increase in eating disorders, independent of a girl’s television viewing habits. via Science Daily