Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Facebook users more prone to developing eating disorders, study finds

Date:
February 7, 2011
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
The more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image and various eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and exaggerated dieting, according to a new study.

The more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image and various eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and exaggerated dieting. This has been shown in a new study from the University of Haifa.

Eating disorders include a wide spectrum of abnormal mental and behavioral conducts related to food and body weight, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This study, conducted by Prof. Yael Latzer, Prof. Ruth Katz and Zohar Spivak of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences at the University of Haifa, set out to examine the effects of two factors on the development of eating disorders in young girls: exposure to the media and self-empowerment.

A group of 248 girls aged 12-19 (average age: 14.8) took part in the survey. These girls were asked to provide information on their Internet and television viewing habits. Regarding the latter, they were asked to give the number of popular shows related to extreme standards of physical image (the "Barbie" model) that they watched. The girls also filled out questionnaires that examined their approach to slimming, bulimia, physical satisfaction or dissatisfaction, their general outlook on eating, and their sense of personal empowerment.

The results showed that the more time girls spend on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet. Extensive online exposure to fashion and music content showed similar tendencies, but manifested in fewer types of eating disorders. As such, the more the exposure to fashion content on the Internet, the higher a girl's chances of developing anorexia. A similar direct link was found between viewing gossip- and leisure-related television programs (the likes of "Gossip Girl") and eating disorders in adolescent girls. The study also revealed that the level of personal empowerment in these girls is negatively linked to eating disorders, such that the higher the level of empowerment, the more positive the physical self-image and the lower the chances of developing an eating disorder.

In this study, exposure to the media and the consequential sense of personal empowerment was found to be associated to parenting practices. Girls whose parents were involved in their media usage; who knew what they were viewing and reading and where they were surfing on the web; who watched, surfed or read along with them; and who conducted cooperative and critical discussions with their daughters about the content of their surfing habits, showed more personal empowerment, forming a protective shield against eating disorders.

On the other hand, parents who were not involved in their media exposure, were not aware of the content that their daughters were consuming, and instead of sharing and becoming familiar with that content chose to limit or prohibit exposure, led to lower self-empowerment in their daughters. This, in turn, has a positive link to various eating problems and negative body image.

"Significant potential for future research and application of eating disorder prevention lies in an understanding of how parenting decisions can have effect on an adolescent girl's sense of empowerment and that enforcing a girl's sense of empowerment is a means to strengthening body image. This study has shown that a parent has potential ability to prevent dangerous behavioral disorders and negative eating behavior in particular," the researchers stated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Facebook users more prone to developing eating disorders, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207091754.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2011, February 7). Facebook users more prone to developing eating disorders, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 9, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207091754.htm
University of Haifa. "Facebook users more prone to developing eating disorders, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207091754.htm (accessed July 9, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$1.4B E.U. Brain Project Has Scientists Slug It Out In Media

$1.4B E.U. Brain Project Has Scientists Slug It Out In Media

Newsy (July 9, 2014) An open letter signed by hundreds of European neuroscientists has kicked off an ugly debate over how more than a billion dollars should be spent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Recreational Pot Sales Start in US State of Washington

Recreational Pot Sales Start in US State of Washington

AFP (July 9, 2014) Recreational pot sales gets going in Washington, making it the second US state after Colorado to allow people to buy marijuana in specialized stores. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Reading Genes Are Also Your Math Genes: Study

Your Reading Genes Are Also Your Math Genes: Study

Newsy (July 9, 2014) A new study published in the journal Nature Communications says about 50 percent of your genes affect both reading and math skills. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Seeing-Eye' Ring Helps Blind Read With Finger

'Seeing-Eye' Ring Helps Blind Read With Finger

AP (July 8, 2014) The prototype FingerReader is essentially a ring a user wears on their index finger. It has a small camera that scans the text. It also has vibration motors and other cues to help users read in a straight line. (July 8) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins