Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shana Meganck, Ph.D.


Sociocultural models of body dissatisfaction implicate mass media exposure as contributing to body dissatisfaction through thin-ideal internalization and social comparison. Compared with other media types, social media are newer, more rapidly evolving, and less thoroughly researched. Existing research, which has focused on teen and young adult samples, suggests that social media also negatively influence body dissatisfaction. The current study used focus groups to explore the nature and impact of social media use on body dissatisfaction in an early adolescent female sample. Girls in this sample displayed high levels of media literacy and confidence, characteristics they felt were nurtured by positive parental influences and a supportive school environment. The results of this study support the recommendation of body image experts that an ecological approach is optimal for the prevention of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Though peer influence gains strength through adolescence, these results demonstrate that parents and schools continue to have important effects on girls’ attitudes and behaviors regarding social media and body image.


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Available for download on Wednesday, February 25, 2099