The influence of social media use on body image concerns

Vittoria Franchina, Gianluca Lo Coco


Internet-based media and especially social networking sites differ from traditional media in that they allow individuals to interact with their friends in their networks. Moreover, Internet-based media are easily available on devices such as smartphones or tablets. Previous research has demonstrated that the mass media are a powerful contributor to individual’s body dissatisfaction. To date, research on the effects related to exposure to ‘newer’ forms of media, in particular the Internet social media is scarce. The purpose of the current study is to review the extant body of research dealing with the influence of social media on body image concerns, especially among adolescents. Adolescents connect on Internet to get access to different kind of Internet-based media such as social media (among which social networking sites). Our results document the importance of idealized social media models—especially thin-ideal models for girls and muscular-ideal models for boys—in shaping the body perceptions of adolescents. However, the effects of pressure from the social media on body image concerns in men need to be further investigated both in clinical and community samples.


Keywords: body image dissatisfaction; social media; social networking; adolescents

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