Does Social Media Contribute to the Development of Eating Disorders in Young Adults?

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Throughout the years social media has been identified as both a positive and negative role in the lives of young adults. The media today has expanded in a broad range of uses that consist of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and etc. The media allows individuals to have a glance at the lives of others simply by viewing one's own images and videos of themselves. Although the media can play a positive effect in the lives of individuals it can also reinforce negative feelings concerning one's own body. The media was intended to establish communities, meet new people, catch up on relatives, promote advertising and etc. It is assumed that the media has increased the chances of individuals to develop eating disorders in young adults. There have been numerous of studies that have shown the negative effects that media has on individual's.

In 1954, psychologist Lesting Festinger developed the theory that individuals can identify oneself social and personal worth based on how people perceive them. In other words, people start to compare themselves on the things that the individuals may want but do not have or can develop inadequacy. This theory is recognized as Social Comparison Theory. An example of Social Comparison theory can consist of a female who is average weight views a Model magazine that portrays a tall thin model might develop feelings of body dissatisfaction in the individual. Today in society many individuals are effected in comparing oneself to others based off the images that is shown on social media. Often times, the media has represented unrealistic body expectation that can cause individuals to become dissatisfied in one's own appearance.

This paper examines numerous of studies that focuses on how media contributes to the development of eating disorders in young adults. Over the past couple of years social media has been identified as both a positive and negative outcome for individuals who are active. The following four literature reviews attempts to identify and support social media contributing to eating disorders in young adults. By understanding the effects that social media can have on young adults allows researchers to have a better understanding and discover more ways on how to prevent them from happening in the future. Thompson and Heinberg (2008) There is an increasing evidence that the media may play a powerful role in the formation of eating disorders and body image disturbances (2008).

The Literature review

In Carney and Louw's et al's (2006) summary article reviewed a study on the relationship between eating disorders and the exposure to media in College Students. The main goal of this study was to be able to identify if social media contributes to eating disorders in young adults. The researcher's African university Students and discovered that the women were more likely to develop anorexia nervosa than men. The focus on this study was on young adults, here was a total of 221 participants this study consisted of 221 college students who participated in this experiment that consisted of 176 women and 45 men. It is hypothesized that the individuals who have been exposed to social media are more likely going to develop an eating disorder. The methods that were used in this study involved having the students involved in two different phases. The first phase consisted of having the students take a questionnaire that focused on the relationship between social media and eating disorders.

The questionnaire of this study consisted of questions that consisted of that co. Carney and Louw's (2006) The main objective for this phase was to detect how much exposure each individual had to social media. The second phase focuses on interviewing each student in regard to how the ideal-type media affected the students eating attitudes (2006).

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Does Social Media Contribute to the development of Eating disorders in Young Adults?. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved February 26, 2024 , from

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