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Date of Award
Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Katherine Elder, PhD
Since the mid-1990s, social media sites (SMS) have proliferated (Obar & Wildman, 2015; Oggolder, 2015). SMS users tend to present themselves positively according to cultural ideals (Zhao, Grasmuck, & Martin, 2008). For example, SMS users may hashtag media #fitspiration, promoting thin and muscular bodies (Boepple, Ata, Rum, & Thompson, 2016; Talbot, Gavin, van Steen, & Morey, 2017). Social comparisons to idealized bodies can trigger body image dissatisfaction (BID; Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002; Myers & Crowther, 2009) and body image self-discrepancy (i.e., disparity between one’s perceived and ideal self; Higgins, 1987). In contrast, proponents of the body positive movement (BPM) have sought to expand beauty norms via SMS (e.g., Afful & Ricciardelli, 2015). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of body positive and acceptance media (BPAM) exposure on body image. Hypotheses included: Participants in the BPAM group would report significantly greater body appreciation than #fitspiration and control groups, and #fitspiration and control groups would endorse significantly greater body image self-discrepancy than the BPAM group. Predicted moderators included body mass index, gender, racial and ethnic identification, self-esteem, SMS habits, and familiarity with the BPM. A community sample of US adults (N = 197) completed our online survey. Data revealed no significant differences post-exposure between groups on body image. Post-hoc chi square analyses showed differences regarding image preferences related to gender and BPM familiarity/alignment. About 46% of participants reported familiarity with BPM. Further, qualitative responses evidenced the popularization of the BPM.
Barr, Æx C. (2019). Effect of Body Positive Social Media on Body Image and Acceptance (Doctoral dissertation, Pacific University). Retrieved from:
Available for download on Thursday, August 05, 2021