Body Image and Mood Following Upwards Comparison to Instagram Models: The Role of Physical Appearance Perfectionism and Cognitive Emotion Regulation
Mccomb, Sarah Elizabeth
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The present study examined whether physical appearance perfectionism is related to mood and body image among young women following an upwards appearance-based comparison to Instagram models, and whether that relationship is mediated by various cognitive coping strategies. Female undergraduate students (N = 142) were randomly assigned to either 1) compare the size of their body parts to the body parts of Instagram models, or 2) an appearance-neutral control condition. All participants completed measures of trait physical appearance perfectionism, pre and post measures of state mood and body image, and cognitive coping processes. As predicted, appearance comparison to the models resulted in lowered confidence and increased appearance and weight dissatisfaction. Trait physical appearance perfectionism was found to predict lower confidence and higher depression, weight dissatisfaction, and appearance dissatisfaction, and these relationships were mediated by engagement in the coping strategies rumination and catastrophizing. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.