Journal of Undergraduate Research


pregnancy, media, body image, eating behaviors


Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life


Research shows that exposure to certain portrayals of women in media can influence women’s body image (Grabe, et al., 2008), self-esteem (Groesz, et al., 2002), eating behaviors and beliefs, as well as the tendency to have an eating disorder (Holmstrom, 2004). Accordingly, research shows that the effects of body disturbances are particularly salient in regards to women who have been exposed to various portrayals of celebrities (Krisjanous, et al., 2014; Hopper & Aubrey, 2013; Sumner, et al., 1993); this link is consistent across culture (Chae, 2014). Though these studies exist, almost no research focuses on media’s effects on the pregnant and postpartum population, specifically. For this reason, we conducted an experimental study that analyzed the effects of media use on pregnant and postpartum women’s body image. We hypothesized that exposure to unrealistic portrayals of pregnant and postpartum women would be associated with increased body dissatisfaction for pregnant and postpartum women, but not for women who have never been pregnant.