Student Research Projects

Marvel and Disney: The Media's Relationship with Body-Esteem

Student Alexander Jahn, '17
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course PSY 480: Original Research Project


The current study specifically examined how Marvel and Disney character portrayals affect female body-esteem. Virginia Wesleyan College students completed questionnaires about parasocial relationship and self-esteem. Second, participants were randomly exposed to pictures of either female Marvel characters or female Disney characters. The self-esteem questionnaire was answered pre and post exposure to the pictures. This study did not find a significant effect between PSR and body-esteem but evidence from previous studies indicate that an effect is possible. The current study may not have found a significant effect due to sample size and demographics. It is possible that because Disney and Marvel are so popular they did not affect esteem scores differently. Future research could compare Disney or Marvel with companies with greater differences in popularity.