Inspiring or Dispiriting? The Effect of Diet Commercials on Snack Food Consumption in High School and College-Aged Women


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Abstract

Objective:Recent research offers conflicting views of whether women high in dietary restraint are inspired or demoralized after viewing thin-ideal images. We conducted two studies to explore the impact of diet commercials featuring the thin-ideal image on snack food consumption.Method:In Study 1, 91 high school women watched a sad movie interrupted with diet or neutral commercials. In Study 2, 102 college women saw diet commercials early or midway through a sad movie.Results:In Study 1, high restraint participants consumed more snacks after exposure to diet commercials than to neutral commercials. In Study 2, early commercials reduced snacking in low restraint women but not in high restraint women.Discussion:Thin-ideal images embedded in diet commercials do not inspire high restraint women but can modify the eating of low restraint women. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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