Dr Siân McLean is a lecturer in Psychology in the College of Health & Biomedicine and a Research Fellow in the Institute for Health and Sport.
Her research focuses on sociocultural and individual factors that contribute to body dissatisfaction in children, adolescents, and adults. A particular interest is the role of media literacy in protecting against the negative effects of exposure to appearance ideal images on body dissatisfaction.
Dr McLean’s research interests also include weight bias, unhealthy weight control behaviours in males, and the effects of social media on body image. She is also highly experienced in school-based prevention and evaluation of programs to improve body dissatisfaction and wellbeing.
Coordination & teaching
PhD (associate supervisor: 4 current)
Master of Clinical Psychology (3 current)
Honours students (2 current, 4 completed).
Refereed journal articles
Griffiths, S., Stuart B Murray, S.B., Krug, I., & McLean, S.A. The contribution of social media to body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, and anabolic steroid use among sexual minority men. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Accepted 3 January 2018.
McEvedy, S.M., Sullivan-Mort, G., McLean S.A., Pascoe, M.C., & Paxton, S.J. Effectiveness of commercial weight loss programs for achieving modest but meaningful weight loss: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Health Psychology doi: 10.1177/1359105317705983. Accepted 23 March 2017.
McLean, S.A., Masters, J., Wertheim, E.H., & Paxton, S.J. (2017), A pilot evaluation of a social media literacy intervention to reduce risk factors for eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 50, 7, 847-851. doi: 10.1002/eat.22708.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., & Wertheim, E.H. Dismantling prevention: Comparison of outcomes following media literacy and appearance comparison modules in a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Health Psychology, doi: 10.1177/1359105316678668. Accepted 18 October 2016.
Dunstan, C.J, Paxton, S.J., & McLean, S.A. (2017). An evaluation of a body image intervention in adolescent girls delivered in single-sex versus co-educational classroom settings. Eating Behaviors, 25, 23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.03.016.
Yager, Z., Gray, T., Curry, C., McLean, S.A. (2017). Body dissatisfaction, excessive exercise, and weight change strategies used by first-year undergraduate students: Comparing health and physical education and other education students. Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(1), 10. doi: 10.1186/s40337-016-0133-z
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., & Wertheim, E.H. (2016). The role of media literacy in body dissatisfaction and disordered eating: A systematic review. Body Image, 19, 9-23, doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.08.002.
Griffiths, S, Hay, P. Mitchison, D., Mond, J.M., McLean, S.A., Rodgers, B., Massey, R., & Paxton, S.J. (2016). Sex differences in the relationships between body dissatisfaction, quality of life and psychological distress. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 40, 518-522. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12538.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., & Wertheim, E.H. (2016). The measurement of media literacy in eating disorder risk factor research: Psychometric properties of six measures. Journal of Eating Disorders, 4, 30. doi: 10.1186/s40337-016-0116-0
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., & Wertheim, E.H. (2016). Does media literacy mitigate risk for reduced body satisfaction following exposure to thin-ideal media? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 1678-1695. doi: 10.1007/s10964-016-0440-3.
Rodgers, R.F., McLean, S.A., Marques, M., Dunstan, C.J., & Paxton, S.J. (2016). Trajectories of Body Dissatisfaction and Dietary Restriction in Early Adolescent Girls: A Latent Class Growth Analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 1664-1677. doi:10.1007/s10964-015-0356-3.
Schofield, M., Paul O’Halloran, P., McLean, S.A., Forrester-Knauss, C., & Paxton, S.J. (2016). Depressive symptoms among Australian university students: Who is at risk? Australian Psychologist, 51, 135-144. doi: 10.1111/ap.12129.
McLean, S. A., Paxton, S. J., Massey, R., Hay, P. J., Mond, J. M., & Rodgers, B. (2016). Identifying persuasive public health messages to change community knowledge and attitudes about bulimia nervosa. Journal of Health Communication, 21, 178-187. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1049309.
Spiel, E.C, Rodgers, R.F., Paxton, S.J., Wertheim, E.H. Damiano, S.D., Gregg, K., McLean, S.A. (2016). “He’s got his father’s bias”: Parental transmission of stereotypical body size attitudes and dieting awareness in young children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34, 198-211. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12123.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., Wertheim, E.H., & Masters, J. (2015). Photoshopping the selfie: Self photo editing and photo investment are associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48, 1132-1140. 10.1002/eat.22449.
Damiano, S.R., Paxton, S.J., Wertheim, E.H., McLean, S.A., & Gregg, K. J. (2015) Dietary restraint of 5-year-old girls: Associations with internalization of the thin ideal and maternal, media, and peer influences. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48, 1166-1169. 10.1002/eat.22432.
Damiano, S.R., Paxton, S.P., Gregg, K., Spiel, E.C., McLean, S.A., & Wertheim, E.H. (2015) Relationships between body size attitudes and body image of 4-year-old boys and girls, and attitudes of their fathers and mothers. Journal of Eating Disorders, 3,16. doi:10.1186/s40337-015-0048-0.
Wilksch, S.M., Paxton, S.J., Byrne, S.M., Austin, S.B., McLean, S.A., Thompson, K.M., Dorairaj, K., & Wade, T.D. (2015). Prevention Across the Spectrum: A randomized-controlled trial of three programs to reduce risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity. Psychological Medicine, 45, 1811-1823. doi:10.1017/S003329171400289X .
Rodgers, R. F., McLean, S. A., & Paxton, S. J. (2015). Longitudinal relationships among internalization of the media ideal, peer social comparison, and body dissatisfaction: Implications for the tripartite influence model. Developmental Psychology, 51, 706-713. doi: 10.1037/dev0000013.
Rodgers, R.F., Paxton, S.J., McLean, S.A., Massey, R., Mond, J.M., Rodgers, B., & Hay, P.J. (2015) Stigmatising attitudes and beliefs towards bulimia nervosa: The importance of knowledge and eating disorder symptoms. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 203, 259-263. doi:10.1097/nmd.0000000000000275.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., Massey, R., Mond, J.M., Hay, P.J., & Rodgers, B. (2014). Pre-notification but not envelope teaser increased response rates in a bulimia nervosa mental health literacy questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67, 870-876. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.10.013.
Rodgers, R.F., Paxton, S.J., McLean, S.A., Campbell, K.J., Wertheim, E.H., Skouteris, H., & Gibbons, K. (2014). Maternal negative affect is associated with emotional feeding practices and emotional eating in young children. Appetite, 80, 242-247. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2014.05.022.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., Massey, R., Mond, J.M., Rodgers, B., & Hay, P.J. (2014). Stigmatising attitudes and beliefs about bulimia nervosa: Gender, age, education and income variability in a community sample. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 353-361. doi:10.1002/eat.22227.
Rodgers, R.F., Paxton, S.J. & McLean, S.A. (2014). A biopsychosocial model of body image concerns and disordered eating in early adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 814-823. doi:10.1007/s10964-013-0013-7.
Rodgers, R.F., Paxton, S.J., McLean, S.A., Campbell, K.J., Wertheim, E.H., Skouteris, H., & Gibbons, K. (2013). Do maternal body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint predict weight gain in young pre-school children? A one-year follow-up study. Appetite, 67, 30-36. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.03.009.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., & Wertheim, E.H. (2013). Mediators of the relationship between media literacy and body dissatisfaction in early adolescent girls: Implications for prevention. Body Image 10, 283-289. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.01.009.
Refereed book chapters
McLean, S.A., Wertheim, E.H., & Paxton, S.J. (in press). Critical processing of idealised beauty images. In R. Hobbs & P. Mihailidis (eds). International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy, Wiley-Blackwell.
Rodgers, R.F., McLean, S.A. & O’Flynn, J.L., (in press) Media and eating disorders. In In R. Hobbs & P. Mihailidis (eds). International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy, Wiley-Blackwell.
Paxton, S.J. & McLean, S.A. (2016) Peer interactions and relationships. In T.D. Wade (ed.), Encyclopedia of feeding and eating disorders. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-087-2_148-1.
Paxton, S.J. & McLean, S.A. (2010) Treatment for body image disturbances. In C.M. Grilo & J.E. Mitchell (eds). The treatment of eating disorders: A clinical handbook (pp. 471-486). New York: The Guilford Press.
Paxton, S.J., Shelton, B. & McLean, S.A. (2009) Modern communication technologies in the treatment of body image and eating disorders. In S.J. Paxton & P. Hay (eds), Interventions for Body Image and Eating Disorders: Evidence and Practice (pp. 268-283). Melbourne: IP Communications.
McLean, S.A., Wertheim, E.H., & Paxton, S.J. Body image in 6-year-old boys: Evidence of muscularity oriented dissatisfaction. Paper presented at the 15th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, Sydney, Australia, 1st – 2nd September, 2017.
Paxton, S.J., McLean, S.A., Stewart, C.S., Goddard, E., Simic, M., & Allen, G. Implementing the ‘Happy Being Me’ body image intervention programme: Learning from United Kingdom and Australian experiences. Workshop presented at the International Conference on Eating Disorders of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Prague, Czech Republic, 8th-10th June, 2017.
McLean, S.A., Rodgers, R.F., Damiano, S.R., Gregg, K.J., & Paxton, S.P. Changes in weight bias from three to seven years of age: A prospective study in young children. Paper presented at the 5th Annual Weight Stigma Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 6th-7th June, 2017.
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.P., & Wertheim, E.H. Happy Being Me Dismantled: Comparison of media literacy and appearance comparison modules for body dissatisfaction prevention. Paper presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, Christchurch, New Zealand, 26th-27th August, 2016
McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.P., & Wertheim, E.H. Why do some people have improved body image after viewing thin-ideal images? Protective effects of media literacy. Paper presented at the Appearance Matters 7 Conference, London, 28th – 30th June, 2016.
View more of Siân's publications in VU's Research Repository.
- Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders
Appearances in the media
Paxton, S.J., & McLean, S.A. (2016). Social media can damage body image – here’s how to counteract it, The Conversation, 26 September, 2016.
Areas of expertise
- Body image
- media literacy
- effects of social media on body dissatisfaction
- Weight bias