New study: Association between viewing body-positive content online and body image

8 Aug 2022

A new study published in the Body Image journal investigates the indirect association between self-reported frequency of viewing body-positive online content and body satisfaction through body appreciation and the moderating roles of body-ideal internalization, self-esteem, intentional searching, and gender. The authors of this research report are Nikol Kvardová, Hana Macháčková and David Šmahel.

This research investigates whether adolescents, who see body-positive posts (posts that try to promote self-acceptance and body positivity) on the internet more often, feel more satisfied with their bodies. The authors found that those adolescents who saw body-positive posts online more often had higher body satisfaction and body appreciation, but only when they searched for body-positive posts themselves. On the other hand, the association between seeing body-positive posts on the Internet and positive perceptions of one's own body did not depend on overall self-esteem, gender, or the tendency to internalize attractive body ideals. Thus, it is possible that adolescents who seek out body-positive posts identify more with positive body attitudes, and thus these posts influence their relationship with their own bodies to a greater extent. However, it should be kept in mind that this association may also be due to the fact that adolescents who are more satisfied with their bodies seek out body-positive posts more often. Hence it is a question for future research to bring more understanding to the link between body positivity posts on the internet and the relationship with one's body.

Abstract

Body-positive online content (BPOC) has recently become widespread, yet the factors that explain its association with body satisfaction have scarcely been studied. The current study investigates the indirect association between the self-reported frequency of viewing BPOC and body satisfaction through body appreciation and the moderating roles of body-ideal internalization, self-esteem, intentional searching, and gender. Utilizing survey data from 1530 Czech adolescents aged 13–18 (M=15.4, SD=1.7, 50 % girls), the present study found limited support for an indirect connection between the frequency of viewing BPOC and body satisfaction through body appreciation. Nonetheless, an indirect association appeared among adolescents with average and above-average frequencies for intentional searching for BPOC. Other investigated moderating factors were not significant. The present findings suggest that BPOC may be positively associated with body image, but only for those who deliberately search for it. The study highlights the importance of individual moderating factors in the context of BPOC and the remaining research gaps, such as the examination of its various types and aspects and their relationship with body image.

 

Title image credit: upklyak, storyset - Freepik.com

Read the full study here

Please cite the study as:
Kvardova, N., Machackova, H., & Smahel, D. (2022). A moderated mediation model for body-positive online content and body image among adolescents. Body Image, 42, 370-374. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2022.07.002


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