Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Kyle De Young
This study examined the causal effects of brief exposure to images of friends via social media on state body image satisfaction and momentary desires to engage in weight-loss behaviors among college women and the moderating influence of trait thin-ideal internalization, appearance comparison, body satisfaction, and eating psychopathology on these effects. This was a 2-phase study. Participants (N=183) completed baseline measures online before attending a laboratory appointment. During the laboratory appointment, participants completed an exercise to identify the one similar-aged, female Facebook friend with whom they engaged in the most photo-related activity recently. Participants completed measures of state body image satisfaction and desires to engage in weight-loss behaviors before being randomly assigned to the Facebook friend photo condition or the appearance-neutral control condition. They then viewed either photos from their Facebook friend’s profile page or photos from the Pottery Barn Facebook page for 15 minutes. Afterward, participants completed measures of state body image satisfaction and desires to engage in weight-loss behaviors. There was a main effect of condition on extreme weight-loss behaviors desire but not for state body image satisfaction or exercise and diet desire. Exposure to images of friends via Facebook led to lower levels of state body image satisfaction and higher levels of extreme weight-loss behaviors desire compared to exposure to appearance-neutral photos for participants with high thin-ideal internalization. These findings suggest that increased momentary risk for eating psychopathology after viewing images of friends on social media may be specific to women who have internalized the thin ideal.
Murtha-Berg, Erin Elizabeth, "Brief Exposure To Images Of Friends Via Social Media Leads To Higher Momentary Risk For Eating Psychopathology Among College Women Who Internalize The Thin Ideal" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2052.