As per a recent study conducted in Florida State University, it was found that there is a direct connection between posting edited photos on Instagram and risk factors for eating disorders.Particularly the photos which are edited to improve personal appearance, increased weight and shape concerns in college students.
The research, published in the International Journal Eating Disorders, found that posting photos (edited or unedited) contributed to greater anxiety and reinforced urges to restrict food intake and exercise compared with not posting photos.
“As more people turn to social media to stay connected, it’s critically important to let others see you as you are.
“Compared with edited photos, we saw no decrease in the number of likes or comments for unedited photos on Instagram; knowing this could reduce harmful pressures to change how you look,” said co-author Pamela K Keel from Florida State University.
Social media use has been implicated as a correlate and a cause of increased disordered eating but little is known about the impact of specific aspects of social media use, such as posting edited photos of the self. Utilising a two-stage design, the present study sought to determine how posting edited photos relate to eating disorders, as well as anxiety and depression symptoms, in male and female college students.
In stage 1, the research team examined concurrent associations between posting edited photos and mental health measures in 2,485 undergraduates (76 per cent female). While in stage 2, they examined causal associations between posting edited photos and eating disorder risk factors in 80 undergraduates (93 per cent female) who endorsed posting edited photos in Stage 1 and volunteered for the experimental portion of the study.
The findings showed that those who endorsed posting edited photos reported greater eating pathology and anxiety than those who did not, but no differences were found for depressive symptoms. The study also found that posting edited photos caused increased weight/shape concerns.