Social Media Effects On Body Image Statistics – It’s no secret that social media, with its stylish stars and perfectly toned fitness gurus, can have a negative effect on our self-esteem.
Now, new research from Florida House Experience, a mental health and addiction treatment facility, shows just how damaging all that scrolling can be.
Social Media Effects On Body Image Statistics
It also reveals the different factors that influence how men and women feel about their bodies. Women, for example, are most influenced by social media, followed by TV and movies and their significant other. For men, their significant other is a major factor influencing how they feel about their bodies.
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Interestingly, health and simply looking in the mirror landed at the bottom of the list for both men and women.
The sexes also differ in how they are affected by images in the media. A staggering 88 percent of women said they were compared to images in the media, and half said the comparison was unfavourable.
Meanwhile, only 65 percent of men said they compare themselves to images in the media, and of those, 37 percent say the comparison is unfavorable.
More than 1,000 people were surveyed for the study commissioned by Florida House Experience in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
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The findings support existing research, including the results of Style’s own survey from earlier this year. In that survey, 51 percent of women ages 18 to 24 said they feel pressure to look perfect on social media. And 60 percent of women of all ages said they wouldn’t post a photo of themselves on social media unless they liked the way they looked.
Of course, there are plenty of efforts to get people to relax, and the recent push for diversity in Hollywood and the fashion industry are undoubtedly steps in the right direction. But for now, especially women are not optimistic.
When asked whether people become more or less confident about their bodies over time, about half of women said they were becoming less confident (compared to about a third of men), according to the Florida House Experience survey.
The survey also looked at body positivity towards states, asking participants how they felt about their own body image. The least body positive states turned out to be North Dakota, Delaware and Wyoming according to their findings.
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It is clear that more needs to be done to make women feel more comfortable in their own skin. In the meantime, if you’re feeling down, it can’t hurt to give Instagram a break. Widespread concerns have been raised regarding unrealistic body image and eating disorders among adolescents who promote content on social media (SM) platforms. A number of research studies have examined the impact of SM on body image, as well as social vulnerability to negative mental health outcomes. Despite this, few previous studies have examined the impact of SM on body image specifically in vulnerable, underserved, or predominantly minority communities. This study examines the impact of SM on body image problems (BII) in adolescents in a public school system where more than 50% of students live in poor households. In late 2019, high school student leaders in northwest Louisiana developed a survey with Step Forward, a collective impact initiative. Questions explored adolescent SM use and mental health in Caddo Parish, specifically BII. The survey was conducted by teachers within the Caddo Parish Public School System. Of the 11,248 total high school students in the school system, nearly 50% were sampled for a sample size of 5,070. Hypotheses included: (1) females were more likely to use SM than males, (2) increased time spent on SM would correlate with females being reported BII, with men remaining largely unchanged, and (3) highly visual social media (HVSM) platforms would be associated with more reports of BII than non-HVSM platforms. Results showed that women were more likely to use SM (p < 0.001) and report BII (p < 0.001) compared to men, while both sexes reported BII with increasing time spent on SM (p < 0.001). Platform diversity was associated with increased BII among SM users compared to users (p <0.001): Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. This conclusion was tempered by the omission of race as a variable in the study design, the use of self-report, and the use of a nonvalidated instrument. These findings suggest that the adverse association between SM use and BII may transcend culture and socioeconomic status due to a generally detrimental effect on adolescent mental well-being.
Previous studies have shown a connection between increased vulnerability to external influences and the onset of puberty. Given the heightened sensitivity of this time, adolescents can be vulnerable to mental health insults, with around 20% of children and adolescents experiencing some sort of struggle with mental well-being (1), and nearly 50% of those who develop signs and symptoms as early as possible with 14 years (2, 3). Furthermore, the prevalence of mood disorders increases with age, with rates almost doubling from the 13-14 to 17-18 age range (4). The most common mood disorders experienced by these populations are anxiety and depression, with almost one in three adolescents suffering from some form of anxiety disorder. Furthermore, Kessler et al. found that the prevalence of any diagnosed mental health or behavioral disorder in the adolescent population was 23.4%, representing almost a quarter of the entire adolescent population suffering psychologically (2).
The term “body image” encompasses how someone perceives their body, behaves towards it, thinks and feels about it and is on the spectrum from positive to negative perceptions (5). Adolescents, especially females, have historically been exposed to pressures in favor of an ideal thin body image in traditional media; It is suspected that this problem is becoming more serious with the rise of social media (SM) (6).
On average, 50% of adolescent girls are not satisfied with their bodies compared to 31% of men (7). Generally speaking, the media portrays several ideal body images for women, ranging from curvy and hourglass, to skinny, to athletic and muscular (8-12). Meanwhile, men seem to be getting a more consistent message that muscular is ideal (1).
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Of all the media, SM is perhaps the strongest driver of these beauty ideals. SM platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, among others, are ubiquitously used among American adolescents, with 96% of them using at least one social networking platform (13, 14). There are differences between adolescents in their usage patterns, with 35% of adolescents of African descent stating that they “enjoy using social media a lot” compared to 20% of adolescents of European descent. Adolescents of African descent also spend an average of 36% more time on SM compared to adolescents of European descent. In addition, in 2019, average daily screen use among adolescents of African descent was 8.32 h compared to 6.40 h for adolescents of European descent (15).
SM platforms can be broadly divided into highly visual social media (HVSM) and others. HVSM includes Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and TikTok, among others in the minority. The “other” group mainly consists of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. HVSM are often accompanied by interactive features such as likes, comments and stories. McCrory et al., described these features as contributing to severe emotional ups and downs associated with momentary gratification and momentary inadequacy (16). It has been noted that women will use HVSM disproportionately more, while men gravitate more towards Facebook (17).
SM has enabled widespread viewing of “ideal body image” content, with recent research showing that up to 80% of photographs have been digitally altered (18). Data from several SM platforms show that they consistently reinforce these body image ideals and can facilitate poor body image, self-perception, and eating disorders in both men and women (19, 20). Adolescents, especially females, reported that they gained mostly negative insight into their body and perceived sexual attractiveness from SM, body stimulation, and self-dissatisfaction (21, 22). Furthermore, screen time on SM is linked to obesity, perpetuating the unrealistic nature of the beauty standards portrayed on the platforms. Body dissatisfaction is closely related to associated symptoms of anxiety and depression, and data indicate that women are at increased risk, perhaps due to increased use of highly visual SM compared to men (17, 23).
Additional studies examining time on SM found that adolescents who used SM for more than 2 hours per day were more likely to report body image problems (BII), eating concerns, and depression (17, 24-26). This combination of time spent on SM and women’s increased reliance on HVSM may serve as a potential reason why women appear to be more susceptible to BII compared to men (17).
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These topics are particularly relevant in the Northwest Louisiana community, especially in Caddo Parish (County). Caddo Parish is located in the northwest corner of Louisiana, on the border with Texas and Arkansas. It is the fourth largest parish in Louisiana, containing three of the poorest zip codes in the state and home to approximately 96,000 families. Caddo Parish is home to approximately 240,000 residents, consisting of 50% African American, 46.5% European American, 2.9% Hispanic, and 1.3% Asian American, with an average household income of