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Research has consistently shown that exposure to thin-ideal media images negatively influences self-perception. Given the escalation of reliance on social media and the heavy online presence of young adults, particularly women, it is essential to identify ways that social media can influence perceptions of body image and self-esteem. This research proposal presents an exploratory investigation into the impact that social media, specifically Instagram, has on women’s views of themselves and their bodies. The aim of the present study is to examine the potential effects of celebrity images, compared with equally attractive peer images and scenery (control) images, on body image and self-esteem in women. Participants will use a mobile application designed to resemble Instagram, which facilitates the exposure to images of celebrities, peers and travel destinations. It is hypothesized that participants exposed to celebrity images will experience lower self-esteem and more negative body image, than those exposed to both peer images and scenery images. In addition, it is expected that the effects of image type would be mediated by physical appearance comparison. In other words, participants exposed to celebrity and peer images will engage in more appearance comparison than participants who viewed scenery images. It is also predicted that celebrity worship will moderate the effect of image type on body image and self-esteem. The effect of exposure to celebrity images is expected to be greater for participants high on celebrity worship. The predicted results will establish a better understanding of the effect of social media on women’s mental health.
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Chang, Keva Brianna Natalie, "They See Me Scrolling, and I'm Hating: Instagram Usage and its Effect on Self-Esteem and Body Image" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 54.