Does Facebook Equal A More Negative Body Image?

negative body imageResearch conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom has revealed that more time on Facebook can lead to more negative body image by comparisons to the bodies of friends, especially among college students.[1] For the study, researchers surveyed 881 college women about their Facebook use, eating habits, exercise habits, and body image.1

With the data collected, the researchers were able to predict how often women felt negatively about their own bodies after looking at someone else’s photos or posts, as well as how often women compared their own bodies to those of their friends.1

Results showed that the more time spent on Facebook, the more negative feelings felt and comparisons made.1 For women who were looking to lose weight, more time spent on Facebook led to them paying more attention to physical appearance, such as body and clothing.1

Previous studies have examined the effects of Facebook on college and adolescent girls’ body image compared to that of non-Facebook users; however, this study is the first to link the time spent on Facebook to negative body image.1

“Public health professionals who work in the area of eating disorders and their prevention now have clear evidence of how social media relates to college women’s body image and eating disorders,” said researcher Petya Eckler, PhD. “While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did predict worse body image among participants. As experts in the field know, poor body image can gradually lead to developing an unhealthy relationship with food. The attention to physical attributes may be even more dangerous on social media than on traditional media because participants in social media are people we know.”1

The comparisons of a person to their friends often hit much closer to home.1 Therefore, researchers believe that body image comparisons made to friends may be just as unrealistic as images of models and the media.1 Everyone’s body is different. Accepting it and being proud of it is important.

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Does More Facebook Time Lead to More Negative Body Image?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 15, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/11/does-more-facebook-time-lead-to-more-negative-body-image/68374.html

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