The Relationship Between Social Media and Body Image in Adult Women: Implications for Counselling Practice

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Buchholz, Kailea
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Social media is a significant component in the lives of people across generations. In this paper, social media refers to online applications (APPs) or websites that allow users to share personal content, seek information, and engage with one another. Some social media platforms include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat. In the past, traditional media and social media platforms showcased individuals meeting thin body ideals (Jiotsa et al., 2021). Social media platforms have expanded to include a wide range of body types and shifted towards inclusivity and a culture of body positivity (Hynnä & Kyrölä., 2019). With many adults accessing social media, it is prudent to understand how it may impact the way older individuals view themselves and their behaviour. Reports show that 97.9% of Canadian individuals aged 15–24 own a smartphone, with over half using their phone every 30 minutes, and these numbers are stable as people age (Statistics Canada, 2018). Research surrounding the effects of social media can help uncover who is prone to the possible negative implications of social media use and what steps to take toward education and prevention. The main objective of this research is to uncover the relationship between social media and the body image of adult women and what action mental health professionals can take to minimize the negative consequences of media use. I hope to address the following research questions: How does social media influence adult women's body image and perception of self, and what interventions can be implemented to support and educate adults using social media to prevent negative consequences?
social media , body image , adult women , mental health