Bachelor of Arts
Clinical and Counseling Science
Joshua Jordan, PhD
In 2021, 4.5 billion people worldwide were actively using social media, a 28% growth between 2019 and 2021 (Kemp, 2021). Influencers- social media users with many followers who show their daily lives to followers- have also become increasingly prominent (Chae, 2018). While significant research has been done on the impact of traditional media on body dissatisfaction, less is known about the effects of social media on body image. Previous research has indicated that repeated exposure to traditional media featuring thin women has a negative impact on body image. This study hypothesizes that women who spend more time on social media will report lower body satisfaction, and women who follow more social media influencers will have lower self-esteem levels. 51 females (mean age = 21.33, standard deviation = 1.78, range = 18 to 25) were recruited by social media and from psychology classes at a small private university and completed a brief demographic survey, their time spent on social media and the number of influencers followed, and then completed the Body Attitude Test, and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale. Pearson correlations revealed no significant relationship between body satisfaction and time spent on social media (r = -0.219, p = 0.131) or between the number of social media influencers followed and self-esteem (r = -0.129, p = 0.366). These findings do not support the hypothesis that increased social media use and social media influencers are damaging young women’s image and self-esteem. However, this is still a new field of interest and more research is needed to test these relationships.