Library Dissertation Showcase

Body image and the influence of social media on body image in pregnant women

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Current literature has focused on the issue of body image and the rising influence of the damaging effects social media can have on body image in young women predominantly. However, there is little research into how social media impacts pregnant women’s body image, despite pregnancy being a time where women undergo many new bodily changes and may be particularly vulnerable to the negative influences of unrealistic and unobtainable pregnancy ideals portrayed in the media. Therefore, the current study aims to see if body image concerns worsen during pregnancy and investigates the influence of social media upon body image concerns in pregnant women. Pregnant women were recruited to complete an online study involving providing details of their social media usage and then completing measures of body image in reference to their pre-pregnancy bodies and current bodies. T-test results indicated that body image significantly improved during pregnancy compared to pre-pregnancy, contrary to the original hypothesis. Social media usage did not appear to be related to any aspects of body image. Multiple regression results indicated increased body appreciation was a significant predictor of decreased body dissatisfaction during pregnancy. A decreased fear of negative appearance evaluations during pregnancy was found to significantly predict increased body appreciation during pregnancy. These findings support research that suggests pregnant women feel less pressure to conform to societal ideals and pressures during pregnancy as it represents a time where weight gain is justified. Reasons for increased body appreciation were also explored such as an increased awareness of body function and a decreased fear of appearance evaluations from others. Limitations of the research were discussed, and suggestions made for future research.

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