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Body Image. 2017 Dec;23:114-125. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

"I don't need people to tell me I'm pretty on social media:" A qualitative study of social media and body image in early adolescent girls.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA. Electronic address: burnettecb@vcu.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA. Electronic address: kwitowskima2@vcu.edu.
3
Departments of Psychology & Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA. Electronic address: semazzeo@vcu.edu.

Abstract

Social media appear to contribute to body dissatisfaction in adolescents, although few empirical studies exist. This study used six focus groups (total N=38) to explore relations between social media use and body image in early adolescent girls (ages 12-14). Thematic analysis identified patterns in the data. In this sample, social media use was high. Girls endorsed some appearance concerns and social comparison, particularly with peers. However, they displayed high media literacy, appreciation of differences, and confidence, strategies that appeared helpful in mitigating the potential negative association between social media exposure and body image. Girls reported these characteristics were nurtured by positive parental influence and a supportive school environment. Results support an ecological approach to the prevention of body dissatisfaction. Although peer influence strengthens throughout adolescence, current findings suggest that parents and the school environment are associated with girls' attitudes and behaviors regarding social media and body image.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Body image; Qualitative; Social comparison; Social media

PMID:
28965052
DOI:
10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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