A new study suggests “appearance exposure” on the Internet is linked to body image disturbance among adolescent girls.
Researchers discovered a link between specific Facebook activities and body image disturbances, but not overall Facebook use.
In the article, researchers Evelyn Meier and James Gray, Ph.D. identified an association between Facebook time spent on photo activity and poor body image among adolescent girls who internalize a thin ideal physique. That is, girls who believe their “ideal self” is someone who has a thin body, and are currently unhappy with their physical looks and body size.
Poor body image is related to lower self-esteem, and a focus on wanting to change their body to be, usually, thinner. It can be a symptom of an underlying or budding eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
The authors discuss the implications of these findings for eating disorder prevention programs and understanding the impact of social networking sites.
“Given the connection between eating disorders and body image distortion and dissatisfaction, it is important to identify contributing factors in this particularly vulnerable group,” said the journal’s editor, Brenda K. Wiederhold, Ph.D., M.B.A., B.C.I.A.
“By identifying these factors, we can move towards designing more effective prevention programs.”
The article first appeared on Psych Central on 4 December, 2013.