How does exposure to thinspiration and fitspiration relate to symptom severity among individuals with eating disorders? Evaluation of a proposed model

How does exposure to thinspiration and fitspiration relate to symptom severity among individuals with eating disorders? Evaluation of a proposed model / Scott Griffiths, David Castle, Mitchell Cunningham, Stuart B. Murray, Brock Bastian, Fiona Kate Barlow. - (Body Image 27 (2018) December; p. 187-195)

  • PMID: 30359868
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.10.002


Abstract

Thinspiration and fitspiration are classes of social media content characterised by idealised depictions of excessively thin and overtly fit/lean bodies, respectively. It is currently unknown whether and how exposure to thinspiration and fitspiration relates to symptom severity within high-risk clinical populations. Thus, in a clinical sample of individuals with eating disorders, we evaluated a model explaining how exposure to thinspiration and fitspiration relates to eating disorder symptoms. Individuals with self-reported eating disorders (N = 228, 47% with anorexia, 93% female) completed measures of image-centric social media use, thinspiration and fitspiration exposure, physical appearance comparisons, and symptom severity. Results showed that more frequent use of image-centric social media was associated with more frequent exposures to both thinspiration and fitspiration. In turn, these exposures were associated with more frequent physical appearance comparisons, and through these, greater symptom severity. Physical appearance comparisons mediated the relationships of both thinspiration and fitspiration exposure with symptom severity. Exposure to fitspiration was more common than exposure to thinspiration. However, thinspiration exposure evidenced stronger associations with symptom severity than fitspiration exposure. In conclusion, our model provides a useful account of how eating disorder symptoms relate to thinspiration and fitspiration exposure, and to image-centric social media more generally.

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Research / Study
Date
22 October 2018
People
Barlow, Fiona Kate
Bastian, Brock
Castle, David
Cunningham, Mitchell L.
Griffiths, Scott
Murray, Stuart B.
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Australia
United States of America
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English
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St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
University of Melbourne
University of Queensland (UQ)
University of Sydney (USyd)
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Body image
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15 June 2021
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23 June 2021
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