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The effect of images of thin and overweight body shapes on women’s ambivalence towards chocolate

Durkin, Kevin and Rae, Kirsty and Stritzke, W. (2012) The effect of images of thin and overweight body shapes on women’s ambivalence towards chocolate. Appetite, 58 (1). pp. 222-226. ISSN 0195-6663

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Many women experience ambivalent orientations towards chocolate, both craving for it and having concerns about eating it. The present study investigated the effect of viewing thin and overweight images of models in chocolate advertisements on ambivalent attitudes. Participants were 84 females, aged 17–63, allocated to a thin model condition, an overweight model condition, or a control group. As predicted, following exposure to their respective images, participants in the thin condition had increased avoidance, approach and guilt scores, while participants in the overweight condition had decreased approach and guilt scores, with no change in avoidance. Control participants demonstrated ambivalence, but no changes over time. The findings show that common advertising strategies for chocolate are likely to exacerbate ambivalence in female consumers.