Is Facebook responsible for poor body image?

By: trademagazin Date: 2015. 09. 30. 10:39

College women who are more emotionally invested in Facebook and have lots of Facebook friends are less concerned with body size and shape and less likely to engage in risky dieting behaviors. But that’s only if they aren’t using Facebook to compare their bodies to their friends’ bodies, according to the authors of a surprising new study at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

In the study, 128 college-aged women completed an online survey with questions designed to measure their disordered eating. The researchers asked each woman whether she worried about her weight and shape and whether she engaged in risky behaviors such as using diet pills, vomiting after meals, or going on fasts. They also asked questions about each woman’s emotional connection to Facebook — her incorporation of the site into their daily life, time spent on the site each day, number of Facebook friends — and whether she compared her body to her friends’ bodies in online pictures.

“We really wanted to examine how each college woman used Facebook when posting pictures online. Is she thinking, ‘I’m posting this picture to share a fun moment with my friends’ or is she thinking ‘I want to post this picture to compare how my body looks to my friends’ bodies,’” says Stephanie Zerwas, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and senior author of the study published in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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