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Facebook leads to 'negative feelings' and poor body image - study

Researches in Glasgow found that it could have a more dramatic effect than traditional media.

Image: selfie via Shutterstock

RESEARCHES HAVE FOUND that browsing pictures of friends on social media can lead to users feeling more negative about their body.

And the more time you spend on Facebook, the worse you could feel in general.

The study by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow consisted of 881 female university students in the United States who used Facebook, and covered their social media, eating, and exercise habits.

Their reactions to browsing other people’s photos on Facebook were analysed, and how often they compared friends’ bodies to their own.

“While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did predict worse body image among participants,” study author Dr Petya Eckler said.

“As experts in the field know, poor body image can gradually lead to developing an unhealthy relationship with food.”

She added that the effect could be more damaging than air-brushed models seen in “traditional media”.

These comparisons are much more relevant and hit closer to home, yet they may be just as unrealistic as the images we see on traditional media.

The researches say this is the first study to provide a link between Facebook and poor body image.

Column: We need to stop comparing ourselves to our ‘friends’ online >

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Nicky Ryan

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