Exploring the impact of social media consumption and body dissatisfaction on the attentional bias to body stimuli
Lloyd-Baker, Katie Elizabeth
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Literature suggests that individuals with eating disorders have an attentional bias to body related stimuli. Attentional bias also appears in females without eating disorders, but who have elevated levels of body dissatisfaction, however there is a limited amount of research, which also appears to report inconsistent findings. There is also an extensive amount of literature that reports media as having a negative impact on the body satisfaction of young women, with unrealistic portrayals of the thin ideal. Social media is one of the most common ways young women acquire information for social comparison with the more time spent looking at appearance related content, the higher their body dissatisfaction. Findings within social media and body dissatisfaction research is correlational, lacking experimental support. This study aimed to extend and improve upon existing literature by combining experimental research within social media and body dissatisfaction research. Female psychology students took part (n=52) in a dot probe task which included fat, thin and neutral stimuli. They then answered 2 questionnaires used to establish body dissatisfaction and social media consumption scores. Participants were grouped into high or low for each questionnaire score using a median split. The data was analysed using a 2x2x2 mixed ANOVA. Results found high social media consumers had a higher attentional bias to fat stimuli and, females low in both social media consumption and body dissatisfaction did not have a bias to fat body stimuli. Results added completely new findings to research. These findings were discussed in comparison to existing literature. Limitations were considered and direction for future research were suggested
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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