Social Media Use in Adolescent girls- A Cross-Cultural Study

Kakar, V. (Macquarie University), Fardouly, J. (Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University), Rapee, R. (Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University) Arman, S. (Isfahan University of Medical Sciences), Guo, M. (School of Psychology, Fujian Normal University)

Research suggests that internalization of the unattainable thin female beauty ideal can increase body dissatisfaction among girls. Little research has investigated how beauty ideals fluctuate among girls in different cultures, and what factors may influence those ideals in the digital age. This study explores the role of social media on adolescent girls’ perception of beauty and body image concerns living in diverse cultures around the world. In this study, 800 adolescent girls living in Australia, India, China, and Iran, completed surveys assessing a variety of different appearance related constructs, including their perception of beauty, cultural pressures, social media activities, body image, and eating pathology. Preliminary results from India (N=222) and Iran (N=200) suggest that beauty ideals for young girls did fluctuate across cultures (e.g. hourglass body shape and oval face in India and inverted triangle body shape and round face for Iran). Similarities in the ideals were found in regard to smaller waist size and preference for a fair skin tone. Relationship of time spent on social media with body esteem and eating pathology was stronger for Indian adolescents. Adolescents in Iran were found to spend less time on social media and engaged in comparisons less frequently to others than their Indian cohort. Culture is also an important factor to investigate when understanding impact of social media on body image.


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Body Image