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Social media has become the dominant platform for social interaction among young adults, with appearance-focused content significantly impacting body image and self-esteem (Rodgers & Rousseau, 2022). Research has linked such content to poor body image and low self-worth, particularly among young people who are more vulnerable to negative outcomes associated with body image and physical attractiveness. Previous studies have examined the influence of social media's picture-based culture on body dissatisfaction and negative body image, highlighting the promotion of unattainable ideals centered around thinness and youthfulness. This creates a digital environment that sets an unrealistic standard of perfection. Previous studies have also examined the role of social media picture-based culture on body dissatisfaction and negative body image (Baker, Ferszt, & Breines, 2019). Unattainable ideals related to thinness and youthfulness promote an objectifying digital environment with a low threshold for imperfections (Lazuka et al., 2020).

Eating disorders are a prominent cause of disability, especially among young females, frequently leading to amenorrhea, reduced fertility, and negative outcomes during pregnancy and for newborns. However, several groups, such as ethnically diverse females and males, have been overlooked, and their needs might remain unmet. Notably, anorexia has the highest mortality rate among all mental disorders, with only 50% of individuals achieving full recovery. There is a concerning increase in body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders among young individuals. A UK Government report found that 95% of those under 18 years old expressed a desire to change their appearance, while 13% of young people experience an eating disorder by the age of 20. Preliminary evidence suggests that social media usage may contribute to these issues.

This webinar will explore the role of social media in relation to the development and maintenance of poor body image and eating disorders.


  • Dr. Maria Livanou

    Lecturer in Psychology at King's College London within the Psychology Department, specifically in the School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences at the Institute of Psychiatry

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