Psychology, Professional


Fall 10-18-2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Len Jennings

Second Advisor

Bryana French

Third Advisor

Kurt M. Gehlert


Women face daily bombardment with messages promoting societal standards of beauty which are often unrealistic, not to mention digitally altered. Internalization of the thin ideal has been linked to body image dissatisfaction, with recent research extending these findings to examine the role of social media suggesting a link exists between negative body image and social media use. However, while previous research has explored social media use, only more recently has Instagram become a target of study. Additionally, studies have primarily focused on the negative outcomes of social media use. As much of this literature has explored these topics using a quantitative lens, understanding the individual lived experiences of Instagram users on a deeper and more personal level has also been overlooked. The present study aimed to address these gaps by examining the influence of Instagram use on young adult women’s body image and how they protect themselves from negative body image experiences while using Instagram. Data was gathered by conducting 45-60-minute Zoom interviews with eight young adult women ages 18 to 30 years old. From these interviews, the use of thematic analysis highlighted three broad themes of Negative Body Image Experiences on Instagram, Positive Body Image Experiences on Instagram, and Protective Factors. Furthermore, considerations for healthier Instagram use, clinical implications, and future directions for research are explored

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.