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The Impact of Different Forms of #fitspiration Imagery on Body Image, Mood, and Self-Objectification among Young Women

Abstract

The present study experimentally examined the impact of different forms of inspirational fitness images (“fitspiration”) on women’s body image. Australian female participants (n = 152, 17–30 years-old; M age = 21.55, SD = 3.94) were randomly assigned to view fitspiration media which depicted the body in a functional (performing exercise) or non-functional (posed) way, with or without accompanying appearance-focused text. There were no main effects of image type or text presence for body satisfaction, mood, or state self-objectification. However, state body satisfaction decreased and negative mood increased over time following exposure to the fitspiration images. Trait self-objectification moderated the impact of image type and text on state body satisfaction, such that viewing functional images presented with appearance-focused text resulted in poorer body satisfaction for women with higher trait self-objectification, but not for those with lower self-objectification. The findings demonstrate that irrespective of focus or presence of text, exposure to fitspiration images decreases body satisfaction and increases negative mood, highlighting the potential negative consequences of engaging with fitspiration media.

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Author information

Correspondence to Ivanka Prichard.

Ethics declarations

The manuscript conforms to APA standards on the ethical treatment of participants. The project was approved by the Social & Behavioural Research Ethics committee at the authors’ institution. Completion of the online survey was considered as informed consent. There were no conflicts of interest.

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Cite this article

Prichard, I., McLachlan, A.C., Lavis, T. et al. The Impact of Different Forms of #fitspiration Imagery on Body Image, Mood, and Self-Objectification among Young Women. Sex Roles 78, 789–798 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0830-3

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Keywords

  • Body image
  • Fitspiration
  • Body functionality
  • Media
  • Objectification