The Impact of Different Forms of #fitspiration Imagery on Body Image, Mood, and Self-Objectification among Young Women
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.
KeywordsBody image Fitspiration Body functionality Media Objectification
Compliance with Ethical Standards
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.
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Alleva, J. M., Veldhuis, J., & Martijn, C. (2016). A pilot study investigating whether focusing on body functionality can protect women from the potential negative effects of viewing thin-ideal media images. Body Image, 17, 10–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.01.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Booth, M. L., Ainsworth, B. E., Pratt, M., Ekelund, U., Yngve, A., Sallis, J. F., ... Oja, P. (2003). International physical activity questionnaire: 12-Country reliability and validity. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 195(9131/03), 3508–1381. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.MSS.0000078924.61453.FB.
- Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T. A. (1997). Objectification theory: Toward understanding women's lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173–206. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1997.tb00108.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fredrickson, B. L., Roberts, T. A., Noll, S. M., Quinn, D. M., & Twenge, J. M. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 269–284. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2069.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Grogan, S. (2008). Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women, and children (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Macintyre, B. (2013, Nov 20). Me, my selfie and I. The Times. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1459535022?accountid=10910.
- Mulgrew, K. E., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). Form or function: Does focusing on body functionality protect women from body dissatisfaction when viewing media images? Journal of Health Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105316655471.
- Noll, S. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). A mediational model linking self-objectification, body shame, and disordered eating. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22, 623–636. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1998.tb00181.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Roberts, T. A., & Gettman, J. Y. (2004). Mere exposure: Gender differences in the negative effects of priming a state of self-objectification. Sex Roles, 51, 17–27. https://doi.org/10.1023/.B:SERS.0000032306.20462.22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schaefer, L. M., Burke, N. L., Thompson, J. K., Dedrick, R. F., Heinberg, L. J., Calogero, R. M., ... Swami, V. (2015). Development and validation of the sociocultural attitudes towards appearance Questionnaire-4 (SATAQ-4). Psychological Assessment, 27, 54–67. https://doi.org/10.1037/A0037917.
- Tiggemann, M., & Zaccardo, M. (2016). ‘Strong is the new skinny’: A content analysis of #fitspiration images on Instagram. Journal of Health Psychology. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105316639436.