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Social Media and Body Image Impact

A growing trend in social media is the ever-increasing number of #fitspiration posts meant to encourage health and fitness. On one hand, some argue that these images are encouraging and supportive, while others gain argue a negative self-image from such posts.  The 7 articles listed below dive into studies conducted on the correlation between social media and the impact on self-body image. Vote for which article you relate to the most regarding social media and body image reflection.

#1 Social Media and Body Image: Research and Future Directions

This article describes how social media has a positive correlation with negative body image. The study mentions that brief interaction with one’s own social media does not reflect these feelings, but consistent viewing of others pages reflects poorly on personal body image.

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#2 The Impact of Appearance Comparisons Made Through Social Media

In this study, the authors examine the comparisons between people that are made in real life vs. social media. The article discusses the study’s findings that people tend to compare themselves more on social media than they do in real life. The study examined respondent’s appearance satisfaction, mood, diet and exercise thoughts and behaviors.

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#3 The Effect of Fitspiration Imagery on Exercise Behavior

This article discusses the Social Comparison Theory and examines the differing viewpoints between thin ideal, athletic ideal and muscular ideal images. The study participants were then asked to do a round of exercise after viewing one of the three sets of images to determine the images impact.

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#4 Pinterest or Thinterest? Social Comparison and Body Image

Jennier Lewallen conducted an online experiment with women, testing how fitspo images lead to social comparison. She found that women who followed more fitness and health boards on Pinterest were more likely to take part in extreme weight loss behaviors.

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#5 Strong is the New Skinny: A Content Analysis of Fitspiration

Focusing on fitspiration images, this article studies the impact that these images and text have related to exercise and diet. It questions their impact on physical appearance, eating concerns and excessive exercise.

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#6 #Fitspo or #Loveyourself

The article examined the difference between fitness inspiration photos and compassion quotes on various social media channels. The study showed that women who only viewed fitspiration images had a lower perception of their own body image. On the other hand, when viewing these images with compassionate quotes, the outcome was positive and encouraging.

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#7 Exploring Correlates of Fitspirational Social Media Use

This article focuses on four types of fitspirational social media messages and their relation to three indicators of body image. These indicators include body dissatisfaction, compulsive exercise and situated optimism related to body goals. The study provided that there are both positive and negative correlations of fitspo on social media.

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