A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes

Body Image. 2016 Jun:17:100-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.02.008. Epub 2016 Mar 18.


A large body of literature has demonstrated mass media effects on body image and disordered eating. More recently, research in this area has turned to 'new' forms of media, such as the Internet, and particularly Social Networking Sites (SNSs). A systematic search for peer-reviewed articles on SNS use and body image and eating disorders resulted in 20 studies meeting specific inclusion criteria. As a whole, these articles demonstrated that use of SNSs is associated with body image and disordered eating. Specific SNS activities, such as viewing and uploading photos and seeking negative feedback via status updates, were identified as particularly problematic. A small number of studies also addressed underlying processes and found that appearance-based social comparison mediated the relationship between SNS use and body image and eating concerns. Gender was not found to be a moderating factor. It was concluded that, although there is a good deal of correlational research supporting the maladaptive effect of SNS use on body image and disordered eating, more longitudinal and experimental studies are needed.

Keywords: Body image; Disordered eating; Facebook; Social networking sites; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / psychology*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Media*
  • Social Networking*