Sex Roles

pp 1–9 | Cite as

Picture Perfect: The Relationship between Selfie Behaviors, Self-Objectification, and Depressive Symptoms

  • Sophia J. Lamp
  • Alyssa Cugle
  • Aimee L. Silverman
  • M. Tené Thomas
  • Miriam LissEmail author
  • Mindy J. Erchull
Original Article


Social media use has been linked to depression, although there is evidence that how one uses social media matters. Self-objectification may influence social media-related behaviors, such as taking many pictures before posting and using photo editing. These may be related to negative outcomes, perhaps because they contribute to feeling disingenuous online. These relationships were explored in the context of selfie posting on Instagram among a sample of young U.S. women who completed self-report measures. Mediation analyses were used to determine whether self-objectification, operationalized as body surveillance, predicted depressive symptoms serially mediated by either (a) taking multiple pictures before posting or (b) photo-manipulation as well as through feeling disingenuous online. In the first model, body surveillance predicted taking multiple selfies before posting which, in turn, related to feelings of depression. Taking multiple selfies before posting was not related to feelings of deception. In the second model, there was a significant four-variable indirect effect wherein self-objectification predicted depression through photo manipulation and feelings of disingenuousness online. The present study shows that there are specific behaviors that women, especially those who self-objectify, engage in before actively using social media that can relate to negative consequences. Understanding how self-objectification impacts social media behaviors can help women became more aware of their engagement in potentially problematic behaviors and work toward self-acceptance.


Self-objectification Body surveillance Social media use Depression Photo editing Selfies Self-presentation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The procedures used in collection of data conform to current APA ethical standards for the protection of human subjects. These procedures were approved by the institutional review board of the University of Mary Washington.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophia J. Lamp
    • 1
  • Alyssa Cugle
    • 1
  • Aimee L. Silverman
    • 1
  • M. Tené Thomas
    • 1
  • Miriam Liss
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mindy J. Erchull
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceUniversity of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA

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