#Fitspiration vs. #BodyNeutrality: Effects of Social Media Communities on Body Appreciation and Food Choice
Name: Megan Fisher
Advisor: Bryan Karazsia; Second reader: Amber Garcia
Body image disturbances can be influenced by media that promotes body ideals, such as thinness. Social media is distinct in its ability to influence body image because of its interactive nature and its tendency to cater to individual interests. The current study investigated how two body-centric communities, (1) fitspiration and (2) body neutrality, influence state body appreciation and caloric value of choices from a simulated menu. Participants viewed images from social media associated with either fitspiration, body neutrality, or nature (control). Participants completed measures of body-ideal internalization and state body satisfaction, then selected a meal from a simulated menu. It was hypothesized that participants who viewed fitspiration images would report lower body appreciation and meals with lower caloric value. It was hypothesized that viewing body neutrality images would be associated with higher body appreciation. Results did not support the main hypotheses; there was no significant difference for body appreciation or caloric value between groups. However, results provided partial support for a feedback loop that promotes engagement with appearance-focused social media content. Additionally, results provided support for use of the simulated menu measure in future body image research.
Keywords: body image, social media, internalization, fitspiration, body neutrality, food choice.
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