Guided by the self- and affect–management (SESAM) model, the current study employed a selective exposure quasi-experimental design in which women (N = 381; Mage = 31.50, SD = 4.89) chose a narrative genre (romance or career) they would like to read, featuring a thin or large character with low or high body esteem, to examine individual differences that influence story selections and subsequent impacts on their self-concepts. Results indicated participants’ salient self-concepts pertaining to romance and career predicted story genre selection. Participants with higher BMI were more inclined to read narratives featuring a large character. Those who read about thin characters with high body esteem reported the highest state appearance esteem. Participants who read about large, high body esteem characters reported more positive affect than those who read about thin, low body esteem characters. Perceived discrepancies between oneself and the character dampened some positive impacts of exposure to high body esteem characters with greater discrepancies resulting in lower state appearance esteem and less positive affect. Implications for self-consistency in media selection and the role of self-discrepancy are discussed.
Robinson, M. J., & Vendemia, M. A. (2023). How activated self-concepts influence selection and processing of body-positive narratives. Media Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2023.2206140
Taylor & Francis
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