Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Can realistic dolls protect body satisfaction in young girls?

Boothroyd, L.G.; Tovée, M.J.; Evans, E.H.

Can realistic dolls protect body satisfaction in young girls? Thumbnail


M.J. Tovée


Ultra-thin fashion dolls may represent a risk factor for thin-ideal internalisation and body dissatisfaction amongst young girls. We asked thirty one 5- to 9-year-old girls to engage in interactive play with commercially available dolls which were either ultra-thin (Barbie and Monster High) or represented a putative realistic childlike shape (Lottie and Dora) and to indicate their perceived own-body size and ideal body size on an interactive computer task both before and after play. There was a significant interaction between testing phase and doll group such that playing with the ultra-thin dolls led to the girls’ ‘ideal self’ becoming thinner. A further 46 girls played with the ultra-thin dolls and then played with either the same dolls again, the realistic childlike dolls, or with cars. Initial play with the ultra-thin dolls again produced a drop in perceived ideal own body size; however, no group showed any significant change in their body ideals during the additional play phase. These data indicate the potential benefit of dolls representing a realistic child body mass to young girls’ body satisfaction and do not support the hypothesis that the negative impacts of ultra-thin dolls can be directly countered by other toys.


Boothroyd, L., Tovée, M., & Evans, E. (2021). Can realistic dolls protect body satisfaction in young girls?. Body Image, 37, 172-180.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2021
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2021
Journal Body Image
Print ISSN 1740-1445
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Pages 172-180


You might also like

Downloadable Citations