The Effect of Brief Exposures to Fitspiration Images on Motivation to Exercise and Body Image Concerns in Latinx College Students
Social media is used by three quarters of the population; however, the literature has suggested it’s potential adverse impact on mental health. Social media behaviors are associated with body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors. Fitspiration is an extension of social media that consists of photos and messaging aimed toward motivating users to exercise. Studies have demonstrated how these posts impact body image concerns and unhealthy weight management behaviors to achieve the thin and toned body ideal. Thus, the aim of this study was to experimentally assess motivations to exercise, body image concerns, and negative mood after brief exposures to fitspiration posts. Latinx college students (483 females, 136 males) were recruited through a web-based recruitment site and after informed consent completed the study online. Participants completed a sociodemographic survey, the Body Image-Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (BI-AAQ), the positive health and appearance subscales of the Exercise Motivation Inventory-2 (EMI-2), the Body Satisfaction and Negative Mood VAS. Three groups of Instagram content (fitspiration only, partial fitspiration, and control only) were used as the stimuli. After completing the sociodemographic survey and baseline measures, participants were randomized. After viewing the images, participants completed the EMI-2 subscales and the Body Satisfaction and Negative Mood VAS again. Four 2 (time) x 2 (gender) x 3 (stimuli condition) mixed ANOVAs assessed fitspiration exposure and gender on each of the dependent variables: appearance-based exercise motivation, health-based exercise motivation, state body satisfaction, and state negative mood. Eight 2 (time) x 3 (stimuli condition) mixed ANOVAs assessed fitspiration exposure on each of the dependent variables for men and women independently. Changes in motivation to exercise were not dependent on stimuli condition for any of the models. State body satisfaction decreased and negative mood increased from pre- to post-exposure for the fitspiration and partial fitspiration groups. There were no statistical differences between men and women for these models. For men, fitspiration exposure was not associated with body satisfaction or negative mood. For women, state body satisfaction decreased and negative mood increased from pre- to post-exposure for the fitspiration and partial fitspiration groups. Latinx college students, particularly women, at risk for body image concerns may benefit from prevention or intervention efforts focused on healthy alternatives to social media and/or social media reduction.
Sagaribay, Roberto, "The Effect of Brief Exposures to Fitspiration Images on Motivation to Exercise and Body Image Concerns in Latinx College Students" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29209624.