Celebrity influence on body image and eating disorders: A review

Why is this research important?

Negative body image (body dissatisfaction) can drive people to engage in unhealthy weight-control behaviours, particularly disordered eating. This places them at heightened risk for developing an eating disorder. Identifying and understanding the contributors to negative body image can inform the direction of targeted body image programs, policy development and public advocacy to prevent the development of disordered eating and eating disorders. This systematic identification and analysis of the available literature found that exposure to images of celebrities, worshipping of celebrities and appearance comparison with celebrities were associated with negative effects on a person’s body image. This was particularly true for women and girls with emerging research reporting similar findings for men and boys.

Authors: Zoe Brown and Marika Tiggermann


Celebrities are well-known individuals who receive extensive public and media attention. There is an increasing body of research on the effect of celebrities on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Yet, there has been no synthesis of the research findings. A systematic search for research articles on celebrities and body image or eating disorders resulted in 36 studies meeting inclusion criteria. Overall, the qualitative, correlational, big data, and experimental methodologies used in these studies demonstrated that exposure to celebrity images, appearance comparison, and celebrity worship are associated with maladaptive consequences for individuals’ body image.

Access: Closed access

Link: journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1359105320988312

Citation: Brown, Z., et al. (2021). Celebrity influence on body image and eating disorders: A review. J Health Psychol, 1359105320988312. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320988312

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