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Susan Cowden, MS

Facebook May Be Linked to Eating Disorders in Adolescents

By April 4, 2012

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The University of Haifa in Israel recently released the results of a survey of adolescent girls regarding their television and internet use, eating habits, satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with their physical appearance and their sense of personal empowerment. The results of the survey indicate that the more time a girl spent on Facebook, the likelier she was to suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or other issues such as extreme dieting.  Additionally, a similar link was found between viewing gossip-type television shows and eating disorders.

Not surprisingly, the survey also revealed that girls who have a stronger sense of personal empowerment and a more positive body image are less likely to develop an eating disorder.

The survey took things one step further and found that an adolescents sense of empowerment and body image are linked to parental involvement - meaning that when parents are actively involved in monitoring and discussing social media activities and television shows, girls have a stronger sense of personal empowerment and, in turn, are less likely to develop issues with eating.  The survey also showed that when parents do not monitor the media consumption of their adolescent daughters, they are more likely to experience a low level of personal empowerment, raising the risk for eating issues.

Do you think Facebook (or other forms of social media) affect how you view yourself?

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