University of Twente Student Theses


Social media and mental health : The influence of social media usage on the emergence of eating disorders

Averdung, J. (2020) Social media and mental health : The influence of social media usage on the emergence of eating disorders.

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Abstract:The average social media usage has increased throughout the last years and is expected to increase even further. Alongside, social media usage is presumed to be negatively correlated with the individual’s level of body dissatisfaction, which is assumed to be a primary risk factor for developing an eating disorder. However, previous research suggests that individuals with a high level of self-esteem are less prone to this negative impact of social media usage and females are even more so. Based on these findings, this research is aimed at getting a more detailed insight into the interplay of social media usage and females' level of body dissatisfaction, moderated by their level of self-esteem. A quantitative online survey (Qualtrics) was created, wherefore participants N=141 were sampled by convenience sampling. This survey consisted of the BSQ-34 as well as Rosenberg's self-esteem scale, which were combined in a cross-sectional design. These were used to collect females' attitude towards their own body and their level of self-esteem by parallelly asking them of their social media usage. Afterwards, the obtained data were analyzed by the statistical software program SPSS. The moderation in itself was examined with Hayes PROCESS macro analysis, the direct relation was analyzed with descriptives and correlation checking. It turned out that females who use social media more often tend to have higher levels of body dissatisfaction. Additionally, the analysis showed a significant buffering moderation effect of the variable of the individual's level of self-esteem. Hence, these results can be used to specify research in this area because the hypothesized protective effect of the individual’s level of self-esteem was confirmed. However, a greater and more diverse sample would be recommended to investigate the moderation effect of self-esteem alongside social media usage and body dissatisfaction more specifically.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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