Does Ethnicity Matter?: Facebook’s Effect on Body Esteem

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cassidy Miles (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Dr. Shilpa Regan

Abstract: Social media is widely used by members of today’s society for connecting with family and friends, networking, and entertainment. Previous research has indicated that social media also negatively affects women’s body image (Andsager, 2014). However, there is limited research on how ethnicity mediates the relationship between social media and body image. The current study examines the relationship between the ethnicity of the woman featured in social media postings, the size of the woman featured in the social media postings, and the ethnicity of the viewer and their effect on body esteem. Female students from a southeastern university viewed a mock Facebook profile of either a thin White woman, a thin African-American/Black woman, a heavy White woman, or a heavy African-American/Black woman and responded to several measures, including a body esteem measure. Based on the social comparison theory, it was hypothesized that White women’s body esteem will be negatively affected when viewing the mock Facebook profile of a thin White woman only, whereas American American/Black women’s body esteem will not be when looking at this same profile. It was also hypothesized that African American/Black women’s body esteem will be affected when viewing the profile of a thin African American/Black woman. Results indicated that there was not a significant interaction among the three factors suggesting other factors besides ethnicity, such as ideal body type, are influential on women’s body esteem.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Esther G. Maynor Honors College
Language: English
Date: 2016
Body Esteem, Body Image, American Women, African-American Women, Black Women, Caucasian Women, White Women, Social Media, Facebook, Ethnicity

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