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Press release

  • 3 December 2008

Psychologist gives students the lowdown on size zero

person measuring their waist

Does size matter, asks Helga Dittmar

University of Sussex academic Dr Helga Dittmar will be joining other leading psychologists next week to talk to teenagers about the impact of size zero culture on body image and esteem.

The London Lectures, open to all but aimed at A-level and college students interested in psychology, are organised by the British Psychological Society and take place in London in Kensington Town Hall from 10am Tuesday 9 December 2008.

Dr Dittmar will present her studies on body dissatisfaction, and will examine whether unrealistic body ideals in the media contribute to this problem in a lecture entitled: 'Does size matter? The impact of '"body perfect" media ideals on body image'.

Topics covered by fellow speakers investigate what makes us tick in modern-day society and include the strategies people use to attract each other on online dating sites, how pop music affects young listeners and boredom in the classroom. The TV star and clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Byron will also be talking about the life of a psychologist in the media.

Ruth Raven from the British Psychological Society says: "Psychology is relevant to everyone's lives. The topics up for discussion at the London lectures are incredibly interesting and we hope that many students will come along and enjoy them and go away with a better understanding of psychology, themselves and others."

If you would like to attend the lecture, which costs £14.69 including lunch and refreshments, visit email or call 0116 2529555.

Notes for editors

  • Dr Helga Dittmar is Reader is Psychology at the University of Sussex. Her research focuses on the impact of consumer society on individuals' sense of identity and well-being. Her work on consumerism and body image is now published in 'Consumer Society, Identity, and Well-Being: The Search for the 'Good Life' and the 'Body Perfect', Dittmar, H. (2008), European Monographs in Social Psychology Series (edited by Rupert Brown). London and New York: Psychology Press. See also Helga_Dittmar


  • The British Psychological Society is a registered charity and the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. It has responsibility for the development, promotion and application of pure and applied psychology for the public good. Requests for further information or enquiries should be directed to Kerry Wood or Lianne Bruce at the British Psychological Society. Email:  Tel: 0116 252 9555.


University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Danïelle Treanor. Tel +44 (0) 1273 678 888 or email

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