Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management
Mary Lynn Damhorst
Modern consumer culture is dominated by two ideals--the body perfect and the material good life. Mass media is replete with depictions of these two ideals (Dittmar, 2008), often portrayed in conjunction (Ashikali & Dittmar, 2012). Only in recent years, the role of these two cultural ideals' influence on individuals has been explored. For example, it was found that internalization (i.e., cognitively buying into the belief) of the body perfect and the material good life ideals are detrimental to individuals' well-being. For example, Gudnadottir and Gardarsdottir (2014) found a positive relationship between internalization of the two cultural ideals and disturbing body image behavior (e.g., excessive dieting) among Icelandic males and females. Therefore, the present study explored the influence of the body perfect and material good life ideals on consumption behaviors--specifically, fashion consumption behaviors. Additionally, the study also examined potential sociocultural antecedents that may contribute to internalization of these cultural ideals among individuals.
Based on literature related to body satisfaction, materialism, and fashion involvement, a hypothesized research model was proposed, consisting of 10 hypotheses. To test the model, data were collected from over 600 U.S. male and female adult participants via Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). SEM was performed to test the hypothesized research model. In total, nine of the 10 hypotheses were supported by the collected data. Also, a pretest was conducted in order to reduce number of survey items. For the pretest, over 170 U.S. male and female adult participants were recruited via AMT.
Findings from the present study revealed that the proposed hypothesized research model is valid across gender. It also revealed that parents, peers, and mass media have contributed towards cultural ideals internalization, which, in turn, influenced an individual's level of body satisfaction via two mediating mechanisms--appearance internalization and appearance comparison. Furthermore, a positive relationship between an individual's level of body satisfaction and fashion involvement was found. Some nuances related to gender differences were identified.
The present study is the first of its kind to explore the role of cultural ideals internalization on individuals' appearance consumption behaviors. A widely used theoretical model in body image literature was incorporated--the Tripartite Influence Model (TIM) to understand consumption issue beyond eating pathologies. The TIM was extended to include the materialism construct. In sum, the present study's model explained about 20% of the variance for the terminal construct (i.e., fashion involvement) (p < 0.0001). Additionally, implications, limitations, and future directions based on the present study and its findings are discussed. For example, the findings of the present study will be useful for conducting social marketing campaigns.
Manchiraju, Srikant, "Extension of the tripartite model of body influence: the role of materialism on body satisfaction and fashion involvement" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14526.