Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level





Jee Young Chung

Committee Member

Rob Wells

Second Committee Member

Ron Warren


Advertising, Competition, Eating disorders, Feminism, Instagram, Social media, Body Image, Self-esteem, Media Consumption


Scholars have studied the relationship between body dissatisfaction and social media use, particularly focusing on young women as vulnerable consumers. Many studies concentrate on the amount of media consumed, rather than the specific activities and behaviors associated with feelings of low self-esteem or poor body image. It is important to determine exactly what behaviors and social media engagements contribute to disordered relationships with food, assessing a user’s pre-existing weight/body concerns in relation to the amount and type of media they consume. Instagram in particular is included in this study, as it is an image-based social networking site where users can engage with peers and celebrities, recently emerging as an advantageous advertising site for companies. This study uses the Tripartite Model of Influence to determine the correlation between Instagram usage and self-esteem, as family, friends and media contribute to the growth and development of a young woman’s self-esteem and relationship with food. It is imperative that these measures be taken into account to further understand social media’s influence on consumers, particularly young women who, through the Social Comparison Theory, are at risk for developing eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Through a comprehensive questionnaire about individual activities, experiences and engagements on Instagram, this study of 187 media users was able to correlate many disordered behaviors and beliefs with Instagram usage.