Multiple exposure to appearance-focused real accounts on Instagram: Effects on body image among both genders

  • Silvia CasaleEmail author
  • Gabriele Gemelli
  • Chiara Calosi
  • Barbara Giangrasso
  • Giulia Fioravanti


This study experimentally investigated the effects of a multiple exposure to appearance-focused real Instagram profile images on body image among both genders. Experimental group participants were 54 young non-Instagram users (F = 50%) who were assigned to view a set of appearance-focused real Instagram profiles for a one-week period and were compared with the same-age non-exposed group (n = 76; F = 50%). Results showed that a multiple exposure to appearance-focused real Instagram profiles of attractive same-sex people led to greater body dissatisfaction among women. Moreover, women in the experimental group showed an increase in the extent to which they define themselves and their self-worth by their physical appearance. Among men, we did not find an effect of exposure to same-sex attractive images on muscular dissatisfaction, fat dissatisfaction, and investment in body image, although a tendency toward an increment of the scores was observed for all the dependent variables. Implications for future research on Instagram use and body image are also discussed.


Body image Body investment Social media Instagram 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry UnitUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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