Think about yourself waking up in the morning. You’re slowly opening up your eyes and scrolling through your Instagram feed. That blogger you really like already did her morning workout routine and her breakfast bowl looks like it’s from a restaurant. You go into the bathroom and look into the mirror. What do you see? What do you think about?
We, as a group of female second year psychology students, could all relate to this. This is why we wondered if Instagram really does have an effect on body image or do we just get that feeling subjectively? Maybe Instagram and the content you look at could also have a positive effect and motivate you to work out more?
A previous study already found that Instagram can have a positive effect on workout motivation. This is, among others, a reason why we wanted to dig deeper into the topic. We were especially interested in the different effects of so-called “ Fitspiration” pictures, so being exposed to pictures of athletic and fit bodies. We wanted to find out whether Instagram pictures could increase one’s workout motivation and what possible reasons behind that are. Especially, the levels of thin-ideal internalization and social comparison concerned us.
The extent to which Instagram affects us differs per individual. All of us differ in terms of BMI or extent of social comparisons and use Instagram for different things for varying amounts of time. Some people may feel pressured to achieve a certian body type and others are motivated by watching others work out. Further research may reveal the mechanisms behind these observations.
We should also keep in mind that bloggers only show us bits and pieces of their daily lives, which may be misleading into making us think they work out most of the time. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Instagram is not reality. Keep in mind you are enough!
FPN Research Practical Group 16b