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

Abstract : Body image issues associated with eating disorders involve attitudinal and perceptual components: individuals’ dissatisfaction with body shape or weight, and inability to assess body size correctly. While prior research has mainly explored social pressures produced by the media, fashion, and advertising industries, this paper focuses on the effects of personal networks on body image, particularly in the context of internet communities. We use data collected on a sample of participants to websites on eating disorders, and map their personal networks. We specify and estimate a model for the joint distribution of attitudinal and perceptual components of body image as a function of network-related characteristics and attributional factors. Supported by information gathered through in-depth interviews, the empirical estimates provide evidence that personal networks can be conducive to positive body image development, and that the influence of personal networks varies significantly by body size. We situate our discussion in current debates about the effects of computer-mediated and face-to-face communication networks on eating disorders and related behaviors.
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Francesca Pallotti, Paola Tubaro, Antonio Casilli, Thomas W. Valente. "You see yourself like in a mirror”: The effects of internet-mediated personal networks on body image and eating disorders. Health Communication, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, 33 (9), pp.1166-1176. ⟨10.1080/10410236.2017.1339371⟩. ⟨hal-01520138⟩

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