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Young women's constructions of the impact of using instagram on their body image

Shingadia, Jasmine (2018). Young women's constructions of the impact of using instagram on their body image. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This empirical study sought to illuminate ‘How young women construct the impact of using Instagram on their body image’. To do so, it employed a social constructionist methodology, informed by the work of Michel Foucault (1972; 1975; 1977; 1980a; 1980b; 1982; 1988) and aligned with a critical realist ontology (Hruby, 2001). Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with eight female participants aged 18–25. The interview data was analysed using social constructionist thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006), from which three master themes emerged. In the first, ‘Shaping a woman: Am I meeting expectations?’, participants’ experiences of their own bodies were shaped by the recognition that other women on Instagram met a sociocultural standard of feminine beauty. The second master theme, ‘Feeling the pressure: The gap between my body and “her” body’, demonstrated how participants were confronted with societal pressure to construct and discipline their physical appearances towards a standard of acceptable femininity. In the final theme, ‘An illusory ideal: Limiting the damage to my own body image’, participants drew on resistant and critical discourses to challenge the representations of other women on Instagram. The findings have implications for Counselling Psychologists working with females who enter therapy for body image concerns – either in general or specifically in relation to Instagram’s visual-based social media platform – for whom such issues may remain explored. The quality, transferability and limitation of the study are considered and areas for future research suggested.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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