University of Twente Student Theses


Social Media Use and Body Image in Young Adults Mediated by Social Comparison

Nordmann, Nina (2022) Social Media Use and Body Image in Young Adults Mediated by Social Comparison.

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Abstract:With social media’s rapid rise in popularity over the last decade, researchers have begun to explore the association between social media use and numerous psychological well-being variables. Body image has become a variable of interest due to social media’s resemblance to conventional media and the unique comparisons that may occur on the online platforms. However, prior research has yielded inconsistent results. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between social media and body image and whether social comparison could mediate the association. During the research, a cross-sectional survey design was employed. Two key findings can be highlighted. First, a significant relationship between social media use and body image was found (r=-.2). The correlation was negative, indicating that higher screen time is associated with a lowered body image. Secondly, social comparison did not mediate the relationship in this study (E= -0.04, 95% C.I. [ -0.15, 0.02]). That high social media use is connected to decreased body image was anticipated due to similarities between new and traditional media. Furthermore, a possible explanation for the fact that social comparison was not a significant mediator may be that the current study did not differentiate between negative and positive upwards social comparisons. Furthermore, it is recommended to conduct longitudinal studies to obtain richer results. All in all, this study serves as a step toward relating the concepts of body image, social media, and social comparisons and can stimulate further research.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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