Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social media and thinspiration
by Dennison, Jeffrey M., M.A., Gonzaga University, 2016, 81; 10252031
Abstract (Summary)

Thinspiration and pro eating disorder (“pro ana”) social media content is prevalent and widely used by sufferers of eating disorders (ED). The risks associated with thinspiration and pro anorexia social media include continued disordered eating, poor self-esteem and perpetual body image dissatisfaction leading to depression and other psychological problems. However, little is known about why females continue to seek out this media or what are the reported impacts of continued usage. The goal of this research is to expand on current knowledge of the influence of social media imagery such as “thinspiration” and “pro ana” on disordered eating. The researcher qualitatively examined if sufferers use thinspiration to further their eating disorders (ED) and if sufferers report negative uses, feelings, behavior, family problems, life choices, body-image satisfaction or dissatisfaction when using social media platforms that promote or participate in thinspiration or pro ana. The study employed a confidential internet survey of 20 females, 18 years or older. Feedback was evaluated using a qualitative content analysis. Additionally, the author used the “uses and gratification theory” to explain how sufferers gravitate toward and participate in damaging social media platforms to prolong their ED. Young females suffering from ED reported using social media as part of their daily lives and reported negative impacts from this influence such as trouble with school, relationships, negative self-esteem, guilt, depression and body image dissatisfaction. The implications of these findings are discussed throughout the paper. It was concluded that thinspiration and pro ana social media represent a powerful and often damaging communication medium for those suffering from ED and can be a contributing factor to the severity and length of disordered eating.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hazel, Michael, Givens, David
School: Gonzaga University
Department: Communication and Leadership
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Communication
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia, Eating disorders, Proana, Thinspiration, Uses and gratifications theory
Publication Number: 10252031
ISBN: 9781369446777
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