Ugly Duckling by Day, Super Model by Night: The Influence of Body Image on the Use of Virtual Worlds

Enrique Becerra, Mary Ann Stutts

Abstract


The use and importance of virtual worlds is growing worldwide but little is known about what influences participants to use them. The current study extends the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), using sociometer theory, to explore influences on the use of virtual worlds. It is hypothesized that perceptions of body image are negatively related to the desire to become someone else, and that this and attitudes towards telepresence (i.e., sense of being there), social norms, and perceived behavioral control are positively related to the use of virtual worlds. Findings suggest that perceptions of body image through the desire to become someone else, attitudes toward telepresence, and subjective norms significantly affect the use of virtual worlds. Perceived behavioral control was found to have no significant impact on the use of virtual worlds. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords


: body image; TPB; telepresence; virtual worlds; consumer behavior; sociometer theory; attitude; subjective norms; perceived behavioral control

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org