Final Project Final Research Paper

Final Project: Final Research Paper


Argosy University


This paper will discuss whether or not mass media and self-image is affecting society. How often do individuals open up a magazine, and see pictures of beautiful, skinny and sometimes unrealistically thin models plastered all over each page? The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether individuals with mental health disorders have poor self-esteem. Are individuals influenced from mass media, and what effect does it have on self-esteem. I will implement a study to help gain a better understanding about the cause and effects of mass media. I will calculate from studies for individuals with gender, weight, age, and personality traits and present the information.

The fifty mixed ethnicity individuals a mix of children, women, and males in various ages. With conditions ranging from extreme to moderate. The assessment used was a questionnaire and interview techniques for the individuals. I gathered relevant information from the questionnaire in order to get the answers from the individuals. The variables would be age, race, and gender. In conclusion the outcome of the interviews and questionnaire were that the individuals were concerned about the images that mass media presented to them. They saw this as a negative view of body image, and results were the same across the board for the individuals

Review Introduction and Literature

The effects with mass media on mental health and body image. Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders which can surface in many ways, but one way has been standing out more than others. These days’ young men and women are constantly subject to what the media calls ‘normal’, but what others might call perfection. Whether one is watching television, reading a magazine or attending an entertainment show, they see possible role models. All too often do psychologists hear that the reason a patients eating disorders are being because they ‘want to look like everyone else’. The truth is everyone doesn’t look like these models and actresses/actors. The media has a huge impact on a person’s life from the very beginning. The media can cause a person to base their ideas of beauty and perfection on false images. The media has an impact on all stages of life and how important it is for a parent to teach their children the difference between true beauty and the world of fake, plastic, unrealistic images that are presumed to be a counterfeit form of beauty.

“When perceived anorexic celebrities are given attention that does not account

for their disordered eating practices, their image may be viewed in a positive light, implicitly reinforcing a broadly embraced cultural notion the thinness is desirable.”

(Yom-Tov & Boyd, 2014 p.200)

In this day in age it is not about the beauty within, it is all about what you see on the outside. “While more common among girls, eating disorders can affect boys, too.” (Nemours, 2016). In the United States 1 or 2 out of every 100 children struggle with bulimia or anorexia. It is unfortunate that teens and children hide it from their parents for months even years. It is so important that parents stay active in teaching their children that looks aren’t everything. To teach them health habits that they can take through their years like healthy eating and exercise. If they can get them on the right track from the beginning it will make it easier for their children when things get complicated and let them know what really matters in life. When children become preteens they begin to gain their independence. They rely on peers and friends to define them. Girls want to look better than their peers, and boys are taught that they should be tough and brave.

People are exposed everyday about commercials about weight loss and their potential of beauty that is measured by their body images. With influence from friends eating disorders are an easy fix. Young adults have a lot of stress and pressure to look and fit the right image. With the advances in plastic surgery and photo shop, models in magazines are defining what perfection should be.



The amount of participant used for this study is fifty individuals. Having fifty individuals for this study would give enough information to use to find out if mass media has an effect on individuals. The participants would be a mixed ethnicity from Caucasian, American Indian and Alaska Native, African American to English speaking Hispanics. A mix of females and males with different types of ages from children, preteen, and young adults. With the children I would need written consent from both parent and child. This is probability sampling and generalizable. There is an exclusion characteristic because of age that is needed. There are exclusions for physical or developmental disabilities. The sample would necessitate diversity since any person can be effect by body image issues.

Measures or Instruments

The instruments that would be used in this study are questionnaires and interviewing techniques for the individuals. This would be a qualitative study. To get this sampling I would get a questionnaire together and gather relevant information for that questionnaire in order to achieve my goal of gathering information for individuals with body image issues. One way to recruit individuals for this research would be through in depth interviews. One way to achieve that is to stratify the population using other variables in addition to the main criterion. For example, the variables considered for stratified levels would be gender, age, and race.


Ethical Issues

  • Select a study group for the experiment within the age range that was specified above.
  • Have the study group in a room and disclose to them what will take place.
  • Have magazines, written material, and videos to perform realistic items of body images that would do no harm to the group.
  • Take the items away and have a discussion with the study group for about 30 to 35 minutes to ascertain the individual’s thoughts.
  • I would have each individual in the study group describe what happen when they looked at the material that was given to them like what body images they identified with such as body type, clothing, etc., which would all be written down.
    • What did you actually see?
    • What was your impression of the material?
    • What did the people look like? Hair, skin color, clothing, etc.
    • What body image did you relate too?
    • How did you feel about the material you viewed?
    • How would you like to see yourself in relation to the body images viewed?
    • What improvements do you think you should do to obtain a perfect body image?
    • What are you willing to do to get a perfect body image?
    • What message do you think media has played in your life?
    • Everyone’s written statements would then be compared and evaluate with the other individuals and the group as a whole.
    • Once it has all been compared I will collect the data and come to a conclusion about what effect the mass media has on individual’s body images.

    The ethical issues that would arise would be, confidentiality, consent forms, individuals they are developmentally, physically disabled. There would need to be research into those to make sure things are being done the correct way. Asking the wrong questions would also be an ethical issue, so doing thorough research before doing anything with this study on whether mass media has a direct effect on body image issues. There would also be problems with the individuals being truthful, because they would know what the study was about and would give answers that they thought were the right way to answer. There could be issues with asking questions to different races they deem inappropriate for their lifestyle. Open ended question could cause problems.


    The techniques that would be used for data collection would be personal interviews and questionnaires. With personal interview I would be able to gain first-hand information, but it would be somewhat difficult because individuals would have a tendency to be dishonest about their body images. Personal interviews will give me insight into a person and how they think about what they have seen. With questionnaires I can collect data on a particular class of individual to be questioned. Of these factors ought to be taken into thought once the proof provided by the individuals given the material.


    After all the research into body images and whether or not it is reliable to individual’s body issues. Our minds are complex and what one individual see another individual see something different. In order to stand up and begin to fix the issue, it is important to show that these goals and views are so unrealistic. Photos of models that weigh ninety pounds are not attractive to real live men. Women like that are unhealthy and are never satisfied with the body they are given. The results for this study is that it is obvious that mass media has an effect on individuals views of themselves. That individuals are never satisfied with their image, because of what they see in magazines and television. No matter how hard they try to get the beauty they long for they are always dissatisfied with the end results. This effect all types of people from the very young to the very old.

    The fact that even a well-known and looked up to star was photo shopped to look thinner, shows how far the media has actually gone with the obsession of being thin. The validity issues could be doing the wrong analysis. Confounding variable would be the difference in perception in each ethnic body image issue. This is an open ended question that might lead to more information that was not brought about in the research. There may be questions that do not fit the profile, ones that are the wrong questions to get the best outcome.

    Psychological effect on the individuals their health and well-being commercial realm is kids that start to overeat health wise impact growth impact their cognitive ability in the young children. Do we want our children to look up to someone who fits the stereotype of what is normal? Wouldn’t it be better if children knew that a person was beautiful by the way they treat others or how they shared happiness with others? People should feel good about themselves, whether or not they fit in the mass media influence. It is true that mental illness can caused anorexia and bulimia as, but the group of people suffering from these disorders based sole on medias influence has done too much damage. It is time to step up and show children and everyone that what real beauty is and dangerous eating disorders can be. There is no reason for anyone to feel unattractive because of what someone else thinks they should look like. The harm that this is doing is unrepairable and so many people are getting surgery to look like the perfect person. Everyone has flaws and things that are not perfect who’s to say what is right and what is wrong. If we continue on this path of destruction we will never look at things the same, because it will be unrepairable. Each and every person in unique and attractive in her or his own special way.

    Implications of a study like this could cause all types of issues to a person psyche. The mass media has for a long time portrayed themselves as being fair. One has just to look at magazines or television to know that’s not right. How are we to deal with this sort of issue? Do we make it okay for people to be overweight? Do we set standards on television to fit the normal everyday person, whether they be of any shape or size? One thing is for sure future research is needed desperately for this issue. They need to do studies on the fact that they put stuff on magazine and television. They need to be accountable for the message they send. If nothing else mass media has to think of the harm it does to people on an everyday basis and try to figure out how to do things different. How to present a united front and be the kind of noteworthy kind of media it should be an example. If I learned one thing out of this research it is all the devastation this type of media has caused and continues to cause individuals life’s every day.


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