Your Friends May be the Reason You Hate Your body
This new research is helping to answer questions in a long running debate about the medias influence on eating disorders. Currently, most ED experts are divided into two camps, those that believe the media plays a significant role in peoples body image issues and those that believe it plays a much smaller role in body image issues.
This debate has already had wide ranging impacts including the banning of thinsparation and similar content on tumblr, Pinterest and other social media. There has even been a complete ban on underweight models in Israel to try and curb the medias influence on young girls and women.
The results of the study show that neither social media usage nor television were tied to body image issues. Seeing thin or “ideal” people in these mediums was also not linked to an increase in eating disorders.
The authors conclude, "Our results suggest that only peer competition, not television or social media use, predict negative outcomes for body image. This suggests that peer competition is more salient to body and eating issues in teenage girls. However, social media use may provide a new arena for peer competition, even if it does not directly influence negative body outcomes."
These results, which were based on studying 237 young Hispanic women provide some of the first insight into how girls and teens form body image issues.
These findings mean could help provide a better understanding of how EDs and body image issues begin. They also show that, while banning things like thinspration may still be a good idea, a ban may not actually prevent anyone from developing an ED.