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“You see yourself like in a mirror”: the effects of internet-mediated personal networks on body image and eating disorders

“You see yourself like in a mirror”: the effects of internet-mediated personal networks on body image and eating disorders

Pallotti, Francesca, Tubaro, Paola, Casilli, Antonio A. and Valente, Thomas W. (2016) “You see yourself like in a mirror”: the effects of internet-mediated personal networks on body image and eating disorders. [Working Paper]

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Abstract

Body image issues associated with eating disorders consist of attitudinal and perceptual components: individuals’ dissatisfaction with body shape or weight, and inability to correctly assess body size. While prior research has mainly explored social pressure from media, fashion, and advertising, we aim to uncover how personal networks, also encompassing internet-mediated interactions, bear upon body image. We estimate these effects with data from a survey of users of websites on eating disorders, including indicators of their body size and body image, and maps of their networks of connections. A bivariate ordered probit accounts for the joint distribution of attitudinal and perceptual body image dimensions depending on network characteristics. Results, confirmed by in-depth interviews, provide evidence that personal networks affect body image concerns, and show that this influence varies significantly by body size. Personal networks, as may be formed also (but not only) online, can be conducive to positive body image development.

Item Type: Working Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: personal networks, health, eating disorders, body image, network density, social circles,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Business Network Analysis
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:38
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/15685

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