Most people have noticed more robust size models on the runways and in magazines than ever before. Now, research shows that these models just might be helping our psyches. Women experience a boost in their mental health after seeing a larger model compared to when they see underweight ones according to Florida State University and their recent research published in the journal Communication Monographs.
As Russell Clayton, the lead author of the study said, “We found overwhelmingly that there is a clear psychological advantage when the media shows more realistic body types than the traditional thin model.”
The researchers recruited 49 women who wanted to lose weight and showed them images of thin, average and larger fashion models on a TV screen. The researchers then looked at their pshycho-physological response (the interplay between the mind and the body). The women, not surprisingly, expressed less body satisfaction when they saw the thin models and they paid less attention to the thinner models. When they viewed the larger models, they felt more satisfied with their own looks.
Jessica Ridgway, an assistant professor who worked on the study said, “Women made fewer social comparisons, felt increased body satisfaction, paid more attention to and remembered average and plus-size models. Therefore, it might be a useful persuasive strategy for media producers to employ plus-size models if the goal of the campaign is to capture attention while also promoting body positivity.”