Sociocultural Pressures and Body Image Disturbances: A Comment on Cafri, Yamamiya, Brannick, and Thompson

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The meta-analysis by Cafri, Yamamiya, Brannick, and Thompson (this issue) established that body image disturbances in females are associated with awareness of the thin ideal, internalization of the thin ideal, and perceived pressure to be thin. This commentary discusses several theoretical implications of these findings and suggests directions for future research. For example, the evidence that the cross-sectional relations between these three sociocultural factors and body dissatisfaction are larger than the relations observed in prospective studies suggests that these factors may be reciprocally related to body dissatisfaction; preliminary analyses of prospective data provided support for this assertion. In addition to following up these findings with prospective studies that test for reciprocal effects, it would be particularly useful if future studies provided experimental tests of these relations and more rigorous tests of the validity scales that assess sociocultural factors.

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