Objective: Social media sites, such as Facebook, merge two factors that influence risk for eating disorders:media and peers. Previous work has identified cross-sectional and temporal associations between Facebook use and disordered eating. This study sought to replicate and extend these findings using an experimental design.
Method: In Study 1, 960 women completed self-report surveys regarding Facebook use and disordered eating. In Study 2, 84 women were randomly assigned to use Facebook or to use an alternate internet site for 20 min.
Results: More frequent Facebook use was associated with greater disordered eating in a cross-sectional survey. Facebook use was associated with the maintenance of weight/shape concerns and state anxiety compared to an alternate internet activity.
Discussion: Facebook use may contribute to disordered eating by maintaining risk for eating pathology. As such, targeting Facebook use may be helpful in intervention and prevention programs.