Exposure to teasing on popular television shows and associations with adolescent body satisfaction

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Objective This study uses a novel mixed methods design to examine the relationship between incidents of teasing in popular television shows and body satisfaction of adolescent viewers. Methods Survey data were used to identify 25 favorite television shows in a large population-based sample of Minnesota adolescents (N = 2793, age = 14.4 years). Data from content analysis of teasing incidents in popular shows were linked to adolescent survey data. Linear regression models examined associations between exposure to on-screen teasing in adolescents' own favorite shows and their body satisfaction. Effect modification by adolescent weight status was tested using interaction terms. Results Teasing on TV was common, with 3.3 incidents per episode; over one-quarter of teasing was weight/shape-related. Exposure to weight/shape-related teasing (β = − 0.43, p = 0.008) and teasing with overweight targets (β = − 0.03, p = 0.02) was inversely associated with girls' body satisfaction; no associations were found for boys. Findings were similar regardless of the adolescent viewer's weight status. Conclusions Families, health care providers, media literacy programs and the entertainment industry are encouraged to consider the negative effects exposure to weight stigmatization can have on adolescent girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
StatePublished - Dec 2017



  • Body satisfaction
  • Media
  • Social influence
  • Weight stigma

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