Reality check: An experimental investigation of the addition of warning labels to fashion magazine images on women's mood and body dissatisfaction

Amy Slater, Marika Tiggeman, Bonny Firth, Kimberley Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Policy makers across a number of Western countries have suggested that warning labels be placed on idealized media images to inform viewers that the images have been digitally altered or enhanced, as a means of ameliorating the negative psychological effects of such media images. The present study aimed to experimentally investigate the impact of the addition of such warning labels to fashion magazine images on women's negative mood and body dissatisfaction. A sample of 102 undergraduate women aged 18 to 35 years were randomly allocated to view magazine fashion spreads with either no warning labels, generic warning labels that stated that the image had been digitally altered, or specific warning labels that stated the way in which the image had been digitally altered. Participants who viewed images with a warning label (either generic or specific) reported lower levels of body dissatisfaction, but not negative mood, than participants who viewed the same images with no warning label, regardless of the degree of internalization of the thin ideal. The findings provide the first evidence that the use of warning labels may help to ameliorate some of the known negative effects of viewing media images that feature the thin ideal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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