The impact of social media on body image and eating behaviors
Kampf, Elizabeth Anne
This thesis examines the impact of a social media network, Facebook, on body image and eating behaviors in an undergraduate female sample. The study is innovative in its subject area and creates a foundation for future research by presenting a general description of Facebook use specific to social comparison and evaluation. By exposing participants to mock Facebook pages across four body type conditions and body-related language types, the current research aims to determine the main effect of the conditions. Furthermore, the study creates a distinction between a high and low risk group within the sample, allowing for group comparison based on eating disordered behavior risk. Results highlight the need for further research into the implications of social media based comparisons on eating disordered behavior and body dissatisfaction. In addition, both risk category and condition were found to have a significant main effect on a participant’s diet and exercise change motivation post exposure. Finally, recommendations for treatment providers and prevention efforts are discussed.