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Self-esteem, but not age, moderates the influence of viewing social media on body image in adult females.

Menna Price Orcid Logo, Aimee E. Pink Orcid Logo, Vasiliki Anagnostopoulou, Liam Branford, Casey Fleming, Grace Jenkins, Lowri Jones, Chloe Lovesey, Aadil Mehta, Jennifer Gatzemeier Orcid Logo

Psychology of Popular Media

Swansea University Authors: Menna Price Orcid Logo, Aimee E. Pink Orcid Logo, Vasiliki Anagnostopoulou, Liam Branford, Casey Fleming, Grace Jenkins, Chloe Lovesey, Aadil Mehta, Jennifer Gatzemeier Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1037/ppm0000493

Abstract

Viewing “thin-ideal” images on social media has been associated with reduced body image (BI) in females, however much evidence is correlational, based on young student samples and/or lacks robust controls. Furthermore, the moderating role of individual differences has not been examined. This study a...

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Published in: Psychology of Popular Media
ISSN: 2689-6567 2689-6575
Published: American Psychological Association (APA) 2023
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64054
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Abstract: Viewing “thin-ideal” images on social media has been associated with reduced body image (BI) in females, however much evidence is correlational, based on young student samples and/or lacks robust controls. Furthermore, the moderating role of individual differences has not been examined. This study aimed to investigate the impact of viewing Instagram-like “thin-ideal” and “average” BIs on BI in females and the moderating roles of self-esteem and age. A sample of 690 adult females aged 18–60 years (M [SD] = 36.95 [12.34]) with wide-ranging body mass index (BMI = 16.90–62.10; M [SD] = 31.28 [8.12]) were randomly assigned to one of four image conditions (“thin-ideal,” “average,” holiday-scenery, or stationery). BI was measured before and after viewing images, followed by a measure of self-esteem. Results showed a significant decrease in BI after viewing the “thin-ideal” versus “average” and control images (p < .0001). Self-esteem (but not age) moderated this effect (p = .036). Self-esteem made no difference to the negative effects of viewing “thin-ideal” images, however, individuals with lower self-esteem showed a significantly greater increase in BI after viewing “average” images versus participants with higher self-esteem. Results suggest that females of all ages with low self-esteem could benefit from initiatives such as the body positivity movement on Instagram.
Keywords: Body image, Instagram, thin-ideal, self-esteem, age
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: Swansea University