Two online surveys examined the significance of the visual analogues, or 'avatars', men (total N= 266) create and use online. Two-dimensional (adiposity. ×. muscle) somatomorphic matrices revealed that avatars are generally thinner than their creator's actual body and similar to their ideal, but more muscular than either their actual or ideal. Men's ratings of the importance of their avatar's appearance correlated with their actual weight and muscle concerns, and disparity between their avatar and actual body dimensions predicted their offline context body change concerns additional to that accounted for by disparity between their ideal and actual bodies. Together with the observation that men also reported higher self-esteem, less social interaction anxiety and less social phobia while online (which correlated with the time they spent online), these results suggest that the physical dimensions of avatars used in social interactions online may serve a compensatory function.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2014|