The Effects of Active Social Media Engagement on Eating Disorder Risk Factors in Young Women
Hogue, Jacqueline Victoria
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This study examined how engaging with female peers on social media affects young womens body image and self-esteem. Participants were 90 female undergraduate students. Fifty participants left comments on photos of one of their own subjectively more attractive acquaintances and interacted with her social media profiles for 10 minutes. The other 40 participants completed the same procedure with a family member they did not consider more attractive than themselves. Women who had engaged with attractive acquaintances had lower state self-esteem and body image than those who had engaged with family members on social media. Self-evaluative salience of appearance investment, drive for thinness, and downward (but not upward) physical appearance tendencies moderated various relationships between condition and self-esteem and body image. The findings reveal active social media engagement is causally related to eating disorder risk factors in young women, and young women with certain traits are more susceptible to such effects.