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The Effects of Viewing Thinspiration and Fitspiration

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posted on 2023-08-03, 15:08 authored by Faith R. Stoneking

Past research on thinspiration, a social media trend found within pro-eating disorder communities promoting the thin ideal for women’s bodies, has shown viewing thinspiration images is correlated with negative body image, high levels of body dissatisfaction, and an increased engagement in disordered eating behaviors (Boepple & Thompson, 2016; Rouleau & von Ranson, 2010; Bardone-Cone & Cass, 2007). Similar to thinspiration is the newer trend of fitspiration. Fitspiration is typically found within more mainstream social media communities and is viewed as a motivational tool for living a healthier lifestyle. Even so, the images used on fitspiration sites have been found to have similar content to thinspiration websites, and more recent research illustrates the negative effects of viewing fitspiration (Boepple et al., 2016; Boepple & Thompson, 2016; Tiggemann & Zaccardo, 2015).The present study sought to expand upon previous findings comparing the content of thinspiration and fitspiration by directly comparing their effects on body image and other outcomes. Participants viewed control, thinspiration, or fitspiration images. Body image, positive and negative affect, and inspiration effects were measured. Significant differences in body image change were found between the control and thinspiration groups, but not between the control and fitspiration groups. Significant differences were also not found in body image change between the thinspiration and fitspiration groups. Significant effects on positive and negative affect were found after viewing both thinspiration and fitspiration images.



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