Can realistic dolls protect body satisfaction in young girls?

Boothroyd, Lynda G., Tovée, Martin J. and Evans, Elizabeth H. (2021) Can realistic dolls protect body satisfaction in young girls? Body Image, 37. pp. 172-180. ISSN 1740-1445

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Ultra-thin fashion dolls may represent a risk factor for thin-ideal internalisation and body dissatisfaction amongst young girls. We asked thirty one 5- to 9-year-old girls to engage in interactive play with commercially available dolls which were either ultra-thin (Barbie and Monster High) or represented a putative realistic childlike shape (Lottie and Dora) and to indicate their perceived own-body size and ideal body size on an interactive computer task both before and after play. There was a significant interaction between testing phase and doll group such that playing with the ultra-thin dolls led to the girls’ ‘ideal self’ becoming thinner. A further 46 girls played with the ultra-thin dolls and then played with either the same dolls again, the realistic childlike dolls, or with cars. Initial play with the ultra-thin dolls again produced a drop in perceived ideal own body size; however, no group showed any significant change in their body ideals during the additional play phase. These data indicate the potential benefit of dolls representing a realistic child body mass to young girls’ body satisfaction and do not support the hypothesis that the negative impacts of ultra-thin dolls can be directly countered by other toys.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: body image, body perception, Barbie, Lottie, dolls, thin-ideal
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 14:54
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 15:35

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