The Associations of Appearance Comparisons with Peers and Chinese and Korean Media Figures with Thin-Ideal Internalization, Body Dissatisfaction, and the Drive for Thinness Among Female Korean-Chinese College Students in China
Appearance-related social comparisons can lead to negative health consequences. This study investigated possible associations of the flow of transnational media originating from Korea in a non-Western context. We compared frequencies of appearance comparisons with peers, Chinese media figures, and Korean media figures, and associations of these comparisons with thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and the drive for thinness among 332 female Korean-Chinese college students in China who were recruited in 2017. We observed a significantly higher behavioral frequency of comparison with Korean media figures than with Chinese media figures. Comparison with Korean media figures had the most extensive associations in our path model; the other two types of appearance comparisons showed limited associations. Thus, comparison with Korean media figures showed the strongest associations with thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and unhealthy eating-related attitudes among female Korean-Chinese students.