Concurrent and prospective analyses of peer, television and social media influences on body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and life satisfaction in adolescent girls

J Youth Adolesc. 2014 Jan;43(1):1-14. doi: 10.1007/s10964-012-9898-9. Epub 2013 Jan 24.


The degree to which media contributes to body dissatisfaction, life satisfaction and eating disorder symptoms in teenage girls continues to be debated. The current study examines television, social media and peer competition influences on body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and life satisfaction in a sample of 237 mostly Hispanic girls. 101 of these girls were reassessed in a later 6-month follow-up. Neither television exposure to thin ideal media nor social media predicted negative outcomes either concurrently nor prospectively with the exception of a small concurrent correlation between social media use and life satisfaction. Social media use was found to contribute to later peer competition in prospective analysis, however, suggesting potential indirect but not direct effects on body related outcomes. Peer competition proved to be a moderate strong predictor of negative outcomes both concurrently and prospectively. It is concluded that the negative influences of social comparison are focused on peers rather than television or social media exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Child
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Peer Group*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Media*
  • Television*
  • Texas