Examining the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and social media usage among African American women

Calisha S Brooks, Tennessee State University


Since eating disorders were first recognized, there has been a massive amount of research examining body image. It is suggested that poor body image is a major contributing factor in developing Anorexia and Bulimia in U.S. girls and women (Cash & Henry,1995; Cash, 2011). Such studies report that the typical characteristics of an individual suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia is that of a 14-25 year old Caucasian female from a middle to upper-class household (Tiggemann & Slater,2013). These studies also suggest that media such as TV, magazines, billboards, and music videos are some of the main influences (Scharrer, 2013). Whereas it is evident that images viewed in mass media can negatively affect body image in women (Cash, 2011), little is known about whether exposure to social media images influence body image dissatisfaction in women, more specifically African American women. Thus, a focus on social media effects in this population could help professionals providing services (health care, mental health, educators) to address any potential consequences resulting from high usage. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and social media among African American women. One hundred and thirty-nine African American females aged 18-50 (N=139) were recruited through social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. All were administered the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ-AS; Cash, 2000) to assess body image; the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI; Sellers et al., 1998) to assess racial identity, and a social networking questionnaire. A Multiple Regression analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between high social media usage and body image dissatisfaction in African American women. The results suggested that racial identity variables significantly predicted body image dissatisfaction, (β=.034, p<.05). However, it was found that social media variables were not significant (β=-.48, p>.05).

Subject Area

African American Studies|Womens studies|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Calisha S Brooks, "Examining the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and social media usage among African American women" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10158672.