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Influence of media literacy curriculum on body image of postsecondary students in Oklahoma

Ashlock, ReAnne
Scope and Method of Study: As the world becomes more connected and continues to expand on the various literacies that people use daily in their attempts to inform, persuade, and educate, it is imperative that people learn how to analyze the information that they are being surrounded with daily. This study used a mixed methods approach to determine whether a one hour media literacy curriculum, created by the author for postsecondary social science students, could influence students' perceptions of body image satisfaction. The researcher used methods triangulation and data triangulation, including a questionnaire, focus groups, and interviews to determine whether students' perceptions of self could be influenced by a media literacy curriculum created by the researcher for the specific group.
Findings and Conclusions: The research suggests that a one-hour curriculum can influence students' perceptions of self in terms of media influence. In addition, the curriculum did not appear to make students negatively biased against the media, but simply more able to reflect on the intentions of particular media productions. The SATAQ-3/M showed the "opposite" results of what one would expect, and yet, when inspecting the actual questions in each section it becomes obvious that more informed students would initially score higher in areas such as "internalization," "pressures," and "information" simply because they are more informed. This finding does imply the need for either the use of a longitudinal study with the SATAQ-3, or a new questionnaire to measure the influence of media literacy curriculum on body image. The curriculum designed and implemented for this study shows a significant effect on undergraduates' body image.