More Facebook time leads to negative body image for women

More Facebook time leads to negative body image for women

Although it’s nice to be able to catch up with friends on Facebook, a new study says if too much time is spent on this social media network, it can negatively impact how women feel about their bodies.

U.S. and U.K. researchers, who will present their findings at the 65th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Seattle, found that the more time women spent on Facebook, the more negative feelings about body image surfaced and the more they compared themselves to their friends’ bodies.

Study co-author Petya Eckler, from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, said in a statement, “Public health professionals who work in the area of eating disorders and their prevention now have clear evidence of how social media relates to college women’s body image and eating disorders. While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did predict worse body image among participants.”

Participants included nearly 900 college women surveyed about their Facebook use, eating and exercise habits as well as their body image. From this information, researchers could predict how often women felt less positive about their bodies after viewing someone else’s photos or posts and how often comparisons were made about their own bodies in relation to their friends.

Researchers also discovered that women interested in losing weight who spent more time on Facebook paid greater attention to physical appearance, including one’s body as well clothes.

“As experts in the field know, poor body image can gradually lead to developing an unhealthy relationship with food. The attention to physical attributes may be even more dangerous on social media than on traditional media because participants in social media are people we know. These comparisons are much more relevant and hit closer to home. Yet they may be just as unrealistic as the images we see on traditional media,” said Eckler.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.