More time on Facebook can lead to more negative feelings and more comparisons to the bodies of friends, according to a study by researchers in the United Kingdom and United States.
The researchers surveyed 881 college women about their Facebook use, eating and exercise habits and body image.
They were able to predict how often women felt negatively about their own bodies after looking at someone else’s photos or posts and how often women compared their own bodies to those of their friends.
The findings also showed that more time spent on Facebook was associated with more negative feelings and more comparisons to the bodies of friends.
And for women who want to lose weight, more time on Facebook led to more attention being paid to physical appearance. This included attention to body and clothing.
Previous studies have examined college or adolescent girls and the effect of Facebook on users’ body image over non-users’. However, this is the first study to link time spent on Facebook to poor body image.
“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,” said Petya Eckler of University of Strathclyde.
“While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did predict worse body image among participants,”
Eckler, Yusuf Kalyango Jr. of Ohio University, and Ellen Paasch of the University of Iowa will present their findings at the 64th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Seattle.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.