Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

D. Wayne Mitchell


Body image has been seen traditionally as a stable trait or dispositional construct. However, recent researchers has increasingly recognized a more dynamic aspect of it—one which is likely impacted by various situational factors. One such situational factor is the process of social comparison. As a method of social comparison, clothing size manipulations (such as trying on different sizes of pants) have been shown to affect fluctuations in female participants' body image. Research has also highlighted the detrimental effects of certain visual cues, such as viewing images of slender female figures, on body image. However, there is a lack of research that investigates the impact of these various methods of social comparison. Therefore, the aim of this study was to further the research of clothing size manipulations utilizing a vignette-based methodology while additionally exploring the effects of a visually-cued social comparison in a 3 ("too loose", "expected fit", and "too tight" pants) X 2 ("low BMI" vs. "high BMI" visual) between-subjects design. Manipulation checks were also employed in order to evaluate the participants' memory recall and perceived potency of the vignette. Results showed evidence for a main effect of the pant-size manipulation but neither the visual cue manipulation nor the interaction term were significant. Additionally, the effects of state and trait body dissatisfaction were explored and contrasted. Overall, the findings from this study may be valuable to clinicians looking to structure interventions to improve body image in their clients.


body image, clothing size, validity checks, vignettes, state and trait body dissatisfaction

Subject Categories



© Stephanie Jian Chen

Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons