ARE YOU INSTA WORTHY? A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS ON THE NEGOTIATION OF INSTAGRAM IMAGES BY COLLEGE AGED WOMEN By DEAVEN FREED A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVERTISING UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2017
2017 Deaven Freed
To my mom, you are stronger than you know
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you for everything, Daniel. You are the reason this thing is finally finished. I want to thank my incredible friends from the bottom of my heart, I have no idea what I would do without you. A big shout out to Big Island Bowl. Thank you for letting me sit in your store for hours and hours. A very special thank you to my chair, Dr. Goo dman, and my committee members, Dr. Treise and Dr. Walsh Childers
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 Eating Disorders and Body Dissatisfaction ................................ ............................. 13 Connecting Social Media ................................ ................................ ........................ 16 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 19 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 19 Media Internalization ................................ ................................ ............................... 19 Gratifications Sought from Social Media ................................ ................................ 20 Photo Usage on Social Media ................................ ................................ ................. 21 Categories of Photos ................................ ................................ ........................ 22 Posting Photos ................................ ................................ ................................ 24 Appearance Comparisons ................................ ................................ ...................... 24 Social Media Effects on Body Image ................................ ................................ ...... 26 Theoretical Frameworks ................................ ................................ ......................... 27 Transactional Model of Social Media and Body Image Concerns .................... 28 Uses and Gratifications ................................ ................................ .................... 30 Social Comparison Theory ................................ ................................ ............... 30 Research Contributions ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 33 3 METHODOL OGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 34 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 34 Choices within Methodology ................................ ................................ ................... 34 Pa rticipant Demographic Rationale ................................ ................................ .. 34 Individual Interview Rationale ................................ ................................ ........... 36 Photo Sort Rationale ................................ ................................ ........................ 37 ................................ ................................ ....... 38 Instagram Photo Gathering Survey ................................ ................................ .. 39 Researcher Gathered Instagram Photos ................................ .......................... 43 Photo Review Survey ................................ ................................ ....................... 45 Final Photo Selection ................................ ................................ ....................... 46
6 Phase 2: Individual Interviews and Photo Sorting ................................ ................... 48 Phase 3: Individual Interviews and Photo Sort ................................ ........................ 51 Interview Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 60 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 60 RQ1 A: Feelings Associated with Instagram Images ................................ .............. 63 Positive Feelings ................................ ................................ .............................. 63 Positive Feelings Toward Friends Photos ................................ .................. 63 Positive Feelings Toward Activities Photos ................................ ................ 64 Positive Feelings Toward Selfie Photos ................................ ..................... 65 Positive Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos ................................ ............ 65 Positive Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos ................................ ................ 66 Positive Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos ................................ ......... 66 Positive Feelings Summary ................................ ................................ ........ 66 Mixed Feelings ................................ ................................ ................................ 67 Mixed Feelings Toward Selfie Photos ................................ ........................ 67 Mixed Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos ................................ ............... 68 Mixed Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos ................................ ................... 68 Mixed Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos ................................ ............ 69 Mixed Feelings Summary ................................ ................................ ........... 70 No Strong Feelings ................................ ................................ ........................... 70 No Strong Feelings Toward Selfie Photos ................................ ................. 70 No Strong Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos ................................ ......... 71 No Strong Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos ................................ ............ 71 No Strong Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos ................................ ...... 72 No Strong Feelings Summary ................................ ................................ .... 72 Negative Feelings ................................ ................................ ............................. 73 Negative Feelings Toward Selfie Photos ................................ ................... 73 Negative Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos ................................ .............. 73 Negative Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos ................................ ........ 74 Negative Feelings Summary ................................ ................................ ...... 74 RQ1 B: Negotiation of Inst agram Images ................................ ............................... 76 Reception of Images ................................ ................................ ........................ 76 Peer Reception ................................ ................................ .......................... 76 Participant Re ception ................................ ................................ ................. 78 Motivations for Interactions with Photos ................................ ........................... 79 Positive Feelings Motivate Interaction ................................ ........................ 79 Negative Feelings Motivate Interaction ................................ ...................... 81 RQ1 C: Why Do College Aged Women Look at Instagram Images? ...................... 82 Checking In ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 82 Inspiration and Motivation ................................ ................................ ................. 83 Significant Events and Important Photos ................................ .......................... 83 Searching for Photos ................................ ................................ ........................ 84 RQ2: App earance Comparisons ................................ ................................ ............. 85 Societal Body Ideals ................................ ................................ ......................... 85
7 Fit Body Ideals ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 86 Comparisons on Instagram ................................ ................................ .............. 88 Comparisons in the Photo Sort ................................ ................................ ......... 89 Peer Comparisons ................................ ................................ ............................ 90 Comparisons on the Explore Page ................................ ................................ ... 91 Posting Photos ................................ ................................ ................................ 92 Timing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 92 Summary of Analysis ................................ ................................ .............................. 94 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 97 Summary of the Study ................................ ................................ ............................ 97 Contribution to Research Goal ................................ ................................ ................ 97 Comparisons to Instagram Images ................................ ................................ ... 98 Behavior s on Instagram ................................ ................................ .................. 101 Contribution to Previous Literature ................................ ................................ ....... 102 The Thin Ideal ................................ ................................ ................................ 102 Appearance Comparisons ................................ ................................ .............. 104 Phot os on Instagram ................................ ................................ ...................... 105 Interaction with Photos ................................ ................................ ................... 106 Contribution to Theoretical Frameworks ................................ ............................... 107 Social Comparison ................................ ................................ ......................... 107 Uses and G ratifications ................................ ................................ .................. 108 Overall Contributions ................................ ................................ ............................ 109 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 110 Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 111 APPENDIX A PHOTO GATHERING SURVEY ................................ ................................ ........... 114 B FINAL PHOTOS FOR PHOTO REVIEW SURVEY ................................ .............. 118 C PHOTO REVIEW SURVEY ................................ ................................ .................. 119 D FINAL PHOTOS FOR PHOTOSORT ................................ ................................ ... 130 E SCREENING SURVEY ................................ ................................ ......................... 132 F INTERV IEW INFORMED CONSENT ................................ ................................ ... 143 G INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................ ................................ .............................. 145 H PHOTO SORT RESULTS ................................ ................................ ..................... 149 I SUMM ARY CHART OF PARTICIPANTS ................................ ............................. 154 J SUMMARY CHART OF FEELINGS TOWARDS INSTAGRAM IMAGES ............. 156
8 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 169 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 182
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Image Category Descriptions ................................ ................................ ............. 40 3 2 Theory driven codes ................................ ................................ ........................... 56 3 3 Data driven codes ................................ ................................ ............................... 57 3 4 Final coding categories ................................ ................................ ....................... 58
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Transactional Model of Social Media and Body Image Concerns ...................... 29 3 1 Example of photo uploaded to activity category and removed due to friend category similarity ................................ ................................ ............................... 41 3 2 Eliminated photo ................................ ................................ ................................ 47 3 3 Interview structure ................................ ................................ .............................. 52 3 4 Photo Sort Set Up ................................ ................................ ............................... 53
11 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Advertising ARE YOU INSTA WORTHY? A QUALITATIVE AN A LYSIS ON THE NEGOTIATION OF INSTAGRAM IMAGES BY COLLEGE AGED WOMEN By Deaven Freed August 2017 Chair: J. Robyn Goodman Major: Advertising College aged women are at incre ased risk for developing eating disorders, and are also one of the primary demographics of Instagram users. With images being widely used to depict unrealistic and unattainable body types, this thesis aim ed to discover if there is a connection between eati ng disorder risk and Instagram usage through individual interviews and a photo sort activity with undergraduate wome n. Indeed, Instagram images depicting flabless, toned bodies, created body comparisons. These comparisons, however, are complex and not nece ssarily negative. Findings show a transition from thin ideals to fit ideals. In addition, this thesis provides details of how college aged women use Instagram, such as liking a picture, posting a picture and commenting on a picture. Future research should focus on monitoring these behaviors in real time on their own fe ed.
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION When Essena a 20 year old Australian social media star with half a million Instagram followers, surprised her fans by quitting social media, she explained h er reason for leaving candidly, just want younger girls to know e, or cool or inspirational. It is contrived p erfection made to get attention is not the only one to express her distress on social media, by my social media performance writes a reporter from Buzzfeed (Seidlinger, 2015, para. 13). Social media platforms, in particular the platform Instagram, are use d to socialize Whether you are out with friends, on vacation, or even eating at a restaurant, posting a picture is expected. As the Instagram However, not just any shot will do for Instagram. Angles, lighting, posing and filters all play a role in Instagram photos, creating a world that is similar to our own but still unattainable in reality. As hecking Instagram is like opening a magazine to see a fashion advertisement except an ad is branded as what it is: a staged image on glossy paper. Instagram is passed off as real life depiction of reality is especially concerning con sidering that the use of social media negatively a ffects self esteem and body image, two factors prominent in the development of an eating disorder (e.g., Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015; Fitzimmons Craft et al., 2012; Shroff & Thompson, 2004; Keery et al., 200 4; Berg et al ., 2002; Thompson et al., 1999). Given that connection, this thesis aims to discover how college aged
13 women negotiate Instagram images to better understand how they perceive Instagram images and if there are potential negative implications to body satisfaction. Eating Disorders and Body Dissatisfaction To explore the potential negative impact of Instagram it is essential to first understand eating disorders attitudes, and behaviors surroundi in their teens through early twenties (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). Furthermore, f ull blown eating disorders typically begi n between 18 and 21 years of age (Hudson, 2007) The three most common types of eating disorders -anorexia nervosa 1 bulimia nervosa 2 and binge eating 3 -each have severe implications. For instance, up to 20% of those suffering from anorexia nervosa will n.d.), and those that develop anorexia between 18 and 21 are twelve times more likely to die of the disease than any other cause of death (Bulik, Sullivan, Weltzin & Kaye, Recurring binge and purge cycles of bulimia nervosa can result in imbalances in the body that affect major organs, such as n.d.) and could lead to death. Binge eating disorder, the most common eating disorder in the United States, also has negative effects such as 1 gaining weight a nd a distorted perception of body weight (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016, para 1). 2 food in a short period of time, followed by an attempt to avoid gaining we ight by purging what was 3 used in binge
14 n.d.). In addition to physical consequences, eating disorders have the potential to increase the likelihood of substance abuse, such as drugs and alcoho l and suicide (Kaye, n.d.). While the mortality rate for eating disorders is certainly a concern, this thesis focuses on the factors that may lead to eating disorders, rather than the eating disorders themselves. Disordered eating can refer to several beh aviors often shared with diagnosed eating disorders including dieting, binge eating, skipping meals and the use of laxatives ( Disordered Eating and Dieting 2015, para. 1) Severity and frequency of these behaviors differentiate a diagnosed eating disord er, which would Disordered Eating and Dieting, 2015, para. 1 ). There are several factors that contribute to disordered eating behaviors. One factor is biological, such as an imbalance of the chemicals that control hunger and Disorders n.d.). Research is Contribute to Eating Disorders n.d.). Secondly, the role of interpersonal factor s, such as negative personal relationships, can contribute to disordered eating behaviors. These negative relationships can include being the recipient of bullying or physical or Disorders n.d.). Also psychological factors such as depression and anxiety can contribute to the development Disorders n.d.). The final factor, sociocultural, is most relevant to the present research. Sociocultu ral factors are frequently observed in eating disorder research because
15 and media influences are widely regarded as the source from whic h body Cafri, Yamamiya, Brannick, & Tho mpson, 2005, p. 421). A meta analysis of sociocultural factors (Cafri, et al., 2005) revealed that the perceived pressure to be thin c ould be associated with body image. This pressure to be thin can be described as the glorification of thinness and the way society places value on this ideal body Disorders n.d.). The sociocultural depiction of this ideal body is especially concerning, as bodies are and experienced through Indeed, research has shown that exposure to and comparisons with sociocultural ideal images lead to body dissatisfaction and internalization of the thin ideal, predictors of disordered eating behaviors (e.g., Cafri, et al., 2005; Stice & Shaw, 2005; Thomps on & Stice, 2001). However, much of this evidence is based on traditional media A large amount of reliable research makes the connection between traditional media exposure to body dissatisfaction (e.g., Tiggemann, Polivy & Hargreaves, 2009; Levine & Murn en, 2009; Grabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008; Harrison & Cantor, 1997), particularly the static images in magazines having a significant impact on increased eating disorder symptoms and decreased body esteem. Less is known about the influence of social media despite it being the highest consumed media by undergraduate women (Bair, Kelly, Serdar, & Mazzeo, 2012, p. 400) i nvolved on the platform. Thus, the next section explores social media usage among young adults to understand their behaviors better
16 Connecting S ocial Media social networking Facebook remains one of the most used social media platforms across all age demographics; however, other image based platforms such as SnapChat and Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular among younger demographics ( Guimares, 2014 ). Among users 13 24 years old, SnapChat was reported to be the most used platform Networking Sites n.d.). While Instagram may not be the most used platform, it was Social Media and N etworking Sites n.d.). In addition 60% of online adults ages 18 29 use Instagram, with females using the platform more than men (Duggan, 2015; Vermeren, 2015). The importance of Instagram is also shown in how often it is accessed. Mobile devices offer c onstant engagement with social media applications with young adults and Networking Sites n.d.). Of these 200 minutes, they access their text messaging apps the most, fol Sites n.d.). Given that Facebook has remained one of the most popular platforms, it has been the focus of numerous effects studies (Malik, Dhir & Nieminen, 2016; Cohen & Blaszczynski, 2015 ; Nesi & Prinstein, 2015; Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015; Tiggemann &
17 Slater, 2013). However, as demonstrated by the above statistics, there is a need to better understand other social media websites and the impact they can have on this demographic, specific ally with the image based platform Instagram. Not only is Instagram centralized around images, but it quite literally offers filters for which you can adjust your photos, enhancing or muting colors in more than 15 different ways. These filters do not nece ssarily correct blemishes or enhance physical features, but they do have the potential to make an individual look more attractive with better lighting (i.e., making eyes look brighter). Given that Instagram is primarily image focused and that images have t he power to demonstrate thin ideals, and the additional capability to edit and enhance photos, it is important to understand Instagram and its potential influence on young women (Holland & Tiggemann, 2016). Therefore, this thesis proposes the following research questions based on the previous research that has provided evidence that there could be a relation s hip between utilizing the social media platform Instagram and body image. In addition much of the lit erature on social media effects is quantitative, lacking understanding of how indiv idu als use and negotiate images on social med ia platforms. T his thesis explores how college aged women, who are top consumers of Instagram and at risk for disordered eating development, navigate through Instagram and how they evaluate the images they see. This thesis further seeks to gain descriptive information regarding the evaluation and negotiation of these images to better understand the potential impact Instagram may ha ve on body dissatisfaction using the following research questions: RQ1 A: What types of Instagram photos produce positive and negative feelings among college aged females?
18 RQ1 B: How do college aged females negotiate images and then behave when images pro duce positive or negative feelings? R Q 1 C: If Instagram photos have a negative effect, then why do they view them? RQ2: Do college aged females compare themselves with Instagram images? If so, what types of Instagram photos create upward and/or downward b od comparisons?
1 9 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction To begin to understand how photos on Instagram can lead to eating disorders and disordered eating, it is important to also understand the process that can lead to Media and Body Image Concerns (2014), there are multiple steps involved in observing the effects of social media on body satisfaction. This literature r eview follows the factor. Next, gratifications sought from social media will be discussed followed by uses of social media, in particular how photos are used Th e mediating process of appearance comparisons will be reviewed especially how these comparisons are made on social media. Finally, social media effects will be discussed in the form of overall negative effects and increases in body dissatisfaction. Media Internalization For the thin ideals displayed in the media to have an effect on disordered eating behaviors, a woman first recognizes an admiration for super slender physiques, criticism of non ideal body types and increased pressure to diet and work out (Thompson & Stice, 2001; Hohlstein, Smith, & Atlas, 1998 ). This recognition often leads to ideal body internalization. Internalization means a woman buys into the outside ideal body pressures reinforced by the media and peers, and internalizes these idea ls which in turn makes her discontent with her appearance if she does not meet this ideal ( Fitz s immons Craft, Harney, Koehler, Danzi, Riddell & Bardone Cone, 2012, p. 43). When women adopt this ideal for themselves, furthermore, it increases the risk that they
20 will develop disordered eating symptoms such as binging and purging behaviors (Fairweather Schmidt & Wade, 2016 ; Stice, 2001). In fact, research supports this internalization of ideal images and the sought to find what factors most contributed to eating disorder pathology (Wilksch & Wade, 2010). A prom inent factor is internalization with the study showing over assessment of weight can be predicted by high levels of internalization (Wilksch & Wade, 2010). Other evidence has supported the negative impact of mediated ideal body internalization (Wade, Wilk sch, Paxton, Byrne & Austin, 2017; Fairweather Shmidt & Wade, 2016; Field, Camargo, Taylor, Berkey & Colditz, 1999; Stice & Agras, 1998), which has been shown to double the likelihood that a woman will experience disordered eating behaviors (Wade et al., 2 017; Fairweather Shmidt & Wade, 2016). Indeed, understanding internalization of the societal ideal is important due to the risk factors associated with this process. Understanding internalization is not enough to understand behavioral outcomes of Instagra m use, such as engaging in disordered eating behaviors. There are several steps involved in the process of behavioral outcomes, with uses and gratifications serving as the intervention between internalization and behavioral implications (Perloff, 2014). Gratifications Sought from Social Media The next step in the Perloff model (2014) is to understand the motives for using media. This concept has been well researched in regards to the implications it can have on body image and predict disordered eating be haviors. For example, college aged women are motivated to improve themselves when they read magazines, particularly of the fashion genre (Thomsen, McCoy, Gustafson & Williams, 2002)
21 Perloff (2014) speculates that young women will be similarly motivated to use social tisfy psychological appearance gratifying needs and convince themselves they measure up to idealized others gratification research in regards to social media is new, a few studies have e xplored this topic (e.g., Malik et al., 2016; Pai & Arnott, 2013; Wang & Tchernev, 2012; Bumgarner, 2007). For example, in analyzing 19 college students across a 4 week period, Wang and Tchernev (2012) found that students have four main needs motivating s ocial media use: emotional needs (relaxation or entertainment), cognitive needs (information or studying), social needs (personal and professional) and habitual needs (habits and background noise). Indeed, other studies have shown that these needs motivate social media usage (e.g., LaRose & Eastin, 2004) especially on Facebook ( Park, Kee & Valenzuela, 2009) While these needs are sought using social media, they are often not fulfilled and gratified (Wang, Tchernev & Solloway, 2012) This gap between what i s desired and what is fulfilled has the potential to increase negative effects from using social media, particularly with eating disorder development. To fully determine these negative effects, psychological processes, such as appearance comparisons, will negotiate the potential impact using social media can have on body satisfaction (Perloff, 2014). Photo Usage on Social Media While social media platforms have several built in functions, such as liking, commenting, sharing and posting, this research focuse s on Instagram, a primarily image focused platform. With this is mind, this section of the literature review focuses
22 on social media photo usage to better understand the potential effects they may have on young women. Categories of Photos T o understand h ow Instagram photos a ffect college aged women, it is important to understand the types of photos that exist on social media. For example, o ne study looked at Instagram feeds and created a list of the most common photo categories : self portraits (i.e., selfies) friends, activities, caption photos, food, gadgets, fashion and pets (Hu, Manikonda & Kambhampati, 2014). Among the 800 images they examined, nearly half of the photos belong ed to the selfie and friend categories. Activities w ere also amo ng the most popular categories accounting for more than 15%. The least popular categories included pets, fashion and food. found on social media. This term refers to thin ideal images that promote weight loss and encourage eating disorder behavior and found typically through the hashtag #thinspiration or #thinspo (Ghaznavi & Taylor, 2015). This content is similar to what is found in magazines, portraying too thin bodies that are often impossible to achieve through healthy eating and exercise. Thinspiration images are on a majority of social media platforms, including Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. In addition the content of the photo matters as much as the category or type of image. For example, Bakhs hi, Shamma, and Gilbert (2014) found that photos featuring faces had 38% more likes and 32% more comments compared to a photo without faces (Bakhshi, Shamma, & Gilbert, 2014). Age and gender were not found to impact engagement, but the content of the photo s c an be a large factor in determining a successful Instagram post.
23 Besides studies on content, others have looked at its potential for behavior change. In examining Pinterest, a platform primarily dominated by female users Lewallen and Behm Morawitz (201 6) found that the more fitness boards a female user followed on Pinterest, the more likely she was to take extreme measures to lose weight. In an examination of fitspiration 4 Boeapple and Thompson (2016) found that while thinspiration images glamourized thinness more than fitspiration did user generated messages on both types of images promoted some sort of guilt, such as guilt surrounding eating or missing a workout. Tillotson (2012) argues that this type of group think behavior tries to normalize eating disorders, whi ch can be incredibly dangerous. Tiggemann and Zaccardo (2015) conducted an experiment with fitspiration images on Instagram. They found that fitspiration images inspired the participants to improve their fitness H owever the authors discussed that while this motivation exists, the toned and muscular body type featured in the photos is often still unattainable to the average female. Physical appearance, eating concerns an d excessive exercise are typically found within these types of images (Boeapple, Ata, Rum & Thompson, 2016), which reinforces the need to obtain a specific body ideal among women. While there are certainly image categories that have negative implications, o ne particular category of images, body selfies, have the potential to empower young women and help them project their own identity and realities (Tiidenberg & Cruz, 2015). These photos express a combination of how women experience their bodies in 1 Tiggemann and Zaccardo, 2015, p. 61).
24 photogr aphs taken by others and how they observe their bodies in mirrors (Tiidenberg & Cruz, 2015). Posting Photos Besides the types of photos posted and their effects, other studies have looked at photo posting behaviors on social media. Utilizing a survey that required daily Instagram use, Lee, Lee, Moon and Sung (2015) discovered the most popular motives for posting a photo on Instagram were archiving, recording daily events, trips, activities, and self e xpression. Regarding self ctures of all sorts of better than texts for self Sung, 2015, p. 555). Moreover, the authors stressed that what make s platforms like hereas Facebook status es are created with text and can be easily fabricated (Lee, Lee, Moon & Sung, 2015). Posting photos of selfies, particularly selfies that foc us on the body, offer self expression as well. By posting photos of their bodies, women express how they want to see themselves and how others will see them ( T iidenberg & Cruz, 2015). However, with this empowerment comes a tension between body ideals and the pressure to iidenberg & Cruz, 2015, p. 95). Appearance Comparisons Used as a mediating process between social media use and social media effects, appearance comparisons are another important area to address in the image exposure effects process. More specifically, researchers look at two types of comparisons
25 upward and downward. Upward comparisons are made when a woman compares herself to an image o f the thin ideal and the woman herself either fails to meet that ideal physically and/or mentally (i.e., she is larger than the ideal or believes she is larger than the ideal). Downward comparisons are made when the woman feels she is thinner or has a more ideal body than the subject of comparison (Festinger, 1954). Within college aged women, comparisons are most evident in breast size, skin color, attractiveness, toes, body weight, and size of hips (Rudd & Lennon, 2000). Overall, researchers have found app earance comparison is a strong predictor of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors (e.g., Fitzimmons Craft et al., 2012; Shroff & Thompson, 2004; Keery et al., 2004; Berg et al., 2002; Thompson et al., 1999). Moreover, appearance comparison w ith traditional media models and their resulting effects has been well documented (e.g., Homan & Lemmon, 2014; van den Berg, Thompson, Obrenski Brandon and Coovert, 2002; Keery, van den Berg and Thompson, 2004; Thompson, Coovert & Stormer, 1999). Indeed, these comparisons have been found on social media as well. Fardouly and Vartanian (2015) examined the type of appearance comparisons made on Facebook among college aged women. The participants were found to make upward comparisons with distant peers -some one the individual may know but does not socialize with regularly (Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015, p. 82) -close friends, and female celebrities. The only category they did not make upward comparisons with was female family members. These comparisons, with t he exception of female family members, led to increased body image concerns. Moreover, they found that of all the comparison types, close friends and distant peer comparison occurred the most often. Fardouly and
26 Vartanian (2015) speculated that peer compa risons happen more frequently because the content they are posting seems attainable to them, rather than posts by a celebrity. Another study looked at depressive symptoms and negative social comparisons on Instagram (Lup, Trub, & Rosenthal, 2015). Among 18 29 year old adults, it was found the more strangers a user followed on Instagram, the more negative comparisons a user made. The comparisons, furthermore, were not limited to appearance but activities such as vacations and social events. Vacation and soci al event photos triggered resentment, envy, and loneliness which are factors in developing depression (Lup, Trub, & Rosenthal, 2015). Social Media Effects on Body Image With an understanding that appearance comparison is a n indicator of body dissatisfacti on, which is a predictor of disordered eating behaviors ( Vartanian & Dey, 2013) the next section of the literature review will examine the area where these comparisons are increasing : social media. The effects traditional media has on body dissatisfaction has been well documented (e.g., Tiggemann, Polivy & Hargreaves, 2009; Levine & Murnen, 2009; Grabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008; Harrison & Cantor, 1997), and as social media continues to gain popularity among young adults a shift in examining online media effects is needed At present, there is limited research on social media or Internet usage, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating. One study compared the effects of both traditional (magazines, television) and online (websites) media use among undergraduat e women (Bair, Kelly, Serdar & Mazzeo 2012) Of these media, high Internet usage was found to have an effect on body dissatisfaction, which can be focused verbal and visual data on
27 e t al. 2012, p. 400). More recently, Blaszczynski and Cohen (2015) had undergraduate females participate in a study that compared magazine images to Facebook images. While the images did not elicit a difference in body dissatisfaction, t he researchers found that high Facebook usage was associated with a higher eating disorder risk ( Blaszczynski & Cohen, 2015). Rodgers et al. (2013) addiction and disordered eating. They found disordered eating was moderately associated with how much time respondents spent on social media. It is not only the time spent on social media sites that is associated with disordered eating behaviors, but the content that they spend their time viewing. Meier and Gray (2014) sought to discover if high Facebook usage led to increased internalization of the thin ideal. The researchers surveyed middle and high school girls to better understand how girls adopt Facebook appearance ideals for themselves (Meier & Gray, 20 14). Total time spent on Facebook had no relationship to internalization; rather, it was time spent on photo activities that increased thin ideal internalization. The researchers believe that young women with high body dissatisfaction and high thin ideal i inforce or exacerbate existing body image issues Theoretical Framework s The literature review suggests that when women are exposed to the thin ideal, an internalization o f thin ideals and body comparisons occur, which may result in body dissatisfaction, a predictor of disordered eating behaviors. The transactional model of social media and body image concerns, social comparison theory, and uses and gratifications theories all help explain these processes. The first, the transactional model
28 of social media and body image concerns will serve as a guide in understanding the process from viewing Instagram images, to body dissatisfaction, and to the possible development of an eating disorder. The second framework, which is a part of the transactional model, is social comparison theory. Social comparison theory will be used to understand the types of comparisons the participants make and the tran sactional model will be used to understand the effects of the comparisons. The third framework uses and gratifications is also a part of the transactional model and will be used to understand the reasons and rewards for using Instagram, an area lacking i n the literature. Transactional Model of Social Media and Body Image Concerns Developed by Richard Perloff (2014), the transactional model of social media and body image concerns combines social psychological and communication theories to create a first of its kind framework to understand the effects of social media among women. Perloff (2014) confirms that previous research has already provided evidence that the mass media have detrimental effects on body satisfaction and sought to give direction to futu re research with his model. The model, pictured in Figure 2 1 takes several factors into account when describing the effects of social media on body dissatisfaction and potential development of disordered eating behaviors.
29 Figure 2 1. Transactional Mod el of Social Media and Body Image Concerns (Perloff, 2014, p. 386) The model begins with individual vulnerability factors such as low self esteem, depression, and thin effects or occur in isol media effects has shown that personal vulnerability factors do play a role in how severe these social media effects can be (e.g., Blaszczynski and Cohen, 2015 ; Meier & Gray, 2014 ). Once a pe rson has at least some of the individual vulnerability factors, a loop begins starting with gratifications sought from social media to social media use to mediating processes to social media effects. Perloff (2014) describes this loop as a woman using imag e focused social media like Instagram for gratifications, such as validation of her body image. In search of this validation, they will spend a large amount of time on the platform, influencing a string of psychological processes such as social comparisons These comparisons frequently lead to upward comparisons that result in body dissatisfaction. Seeking more validation of their body image, a woman will
31 U pw ards comparisons are when the individual feels they fall short of the body type in the image they are comparing themselves with while downward comparisons are when the individual feels they exceed the body type in the image. While these comparisons occur we can also assume the audience viewing the images is active (Festinger, 1954). With this, we understand that unlike traditional media, the user is active in a two way communication process when using social media. For example, if an upward comparison is made the user may unfollow an account as a coping or protection strategy. Many social media platforms, such as Instagram, offer the flexibility to choose viewing content in the form of following, unfollowing, liking and commenting. With this in mind, the research will discover if any coping mechanisms exist when making upward comparisons, such as unfollowing a user. Also this theory offers an opportunity to blend past research together and form a new direction to understand Instagram effects. In additio n to the original theory, motives for comparison may also reveal themselves in the research. Understanding these motives may provide further detail into the comparisons that are made. There are three motives for social comparison: self evaluation, self enh ancement and self improvement (Martin & Kennedy, 1994). The definitions for each are provided below: Self evaluation an individual's judgment of value, worth or appropriateness of his/her abilities, opinions, and personal traits 365). Self enhancement an individual's biased attempts to maintain positive views of him/herself to protect or enhance self esteem Self improvement an individual's attempts to lea rn how to improve or to be inspired to improve a particular
32 Research Contributions The literature demonstrated several main areas to investigate. First, many of the studies use quantitative research, and there is a need for descriptions of lived experiences in regards to using Instagram and viewing photos on Instagram. Second, Facebook i s the platform primarily investigated when looking at social media effects (Malik, Dhir & Nieminen, 2016; Cohen & Blaszczynski, 2015; Nesi & Prinstein, 2015; Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015; Tiggemann & Slater, 2013). There is a need in the literature to add di fferent platforms, especially those that are image specific such as Instagram. Images, more than moving videos such as film or television, are assumed to have more of an impact due to the largely Photoshopped images that show just how unattainable the thin ideal is (Arroyo, 2015). Similarly Instagram offers a very similar platform for displaying unrealistic images with its various filters, and third party editing sites that allow users to adjust photos in the same way an ads or magazines would. With eviden ce showing the negative impact of magazine images ( e.g., Tiggemann, Polivy & Hargreaves, 2009; Levine & Murnen, 2009; Grabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008; Harrison & Cantor, 1997 ) this researcher felt it especially important to focus on Instagram. Unlike magazines, t here is pressure to be constantly connected through social media. Lastly, to understand how Instagram images affect body satisfaction, we must first understand how and why it is used Once this is discovered we can then understand what types of appearanc e comparisons are being made with these images. These comparisons can be understood through the types of accounts they follow and the types of pictures they make appearance comparisons to most often. Currently, there are no studies that combine the differe nt types of image categories found on social
33 media and compared them to each other to discover which causes the most body dissatisfaction. Overall, this thesis also hopes to fill in the gaps of why college aged women use Instagram, what they use it for, wh at type of content they post, what type of content they interact with, and their overall feelings regarding how Instagram impacts their own body ideals. Research Questions To discover how college aged women negotiate Instagram images, the following researc h questions will be examined: RQ1 A: What types of Instagram photos produce positive and negative feelings among college aged females? RQ1 B: How do college aged females negotiate images and then behave when images produce positive or negative feelings? R Q 1 C: If Instagram photos have a negative effect, then why do they view them? RQ2: Do college aged females compare themselves with Instagram images? If so, what types of Instagram photos create upward and/or downward body comparisons?
34 CHAPTER 3 METHOD OLOGY Overview This thesis used individual interviews with a photo sorting activity to answer the research questions. One of the primary reasons for using qualitative research in this thesis, as opposed to quantitative, is that there is a gap in the literature regarding descriptive data. In addition, a core area of the research questions is to understand how college aged women use Instagram and how the meanings assigned to the photos can potentially lead to decreased body esteem. Understanding meaning is a core attribute of qualitative research, for to understand behavior the research er perspective of the people being studied Sheehan & Taylor, 2002 p. 19). The method, individual interviews, will be explained in detail later in this chapter. Choices within Methodology Participant Demographic Rationale This study looked at college women aged 18 to 24 attending a large southeastern university. This age group was chosen for several reasons. First, the literature supports that female undergraduate student s are at high risk for disordered eating and weight management (Schwitzer & Choate, 2015; Schwitzer, 2012; Berg, Frazier & Sherr, 2009; Striegel Moore Rosselli, Perrin, Debar, Wilson, May & Kraemer, 2009). Specifically, 6% of women on campuses report problems with anorexia or bulimia, 25% to 40% report moderate eating, weight, and body shape related problems such as body image worries, weight manageme nt behaviors, and out of control eating
35 (S ch witzer & Choate, 2015 p. 74 ) and 40% participated in disordered eating at least once per week (Berg et al., 2009). Second, 50% of undergraduate women report being dissatisfied with their physical appearance (G rabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008; Bearman, Presnell, Matinez & Stice, 2009; Monteath & McCabe, 1997) Third, undergraduate females have been found to compare their appearance to media images that result in body dissatisfaction (e .g., Bair Kelly, Serdar & Mazzeo, 2 012; Tiggemann, Polivy & Hargreaves, 2009; Levine & Murnen, 2009; Grabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008; Harrison & Cantor, 1997) Furthermore, time spent on social media photo activities may have even more potential for higher body dissatisfaction (Blaszczynski & Coh en, 2015 ; Meier & Gray, 2014 ). In addition to recognizing that this demographic has greater incidences of disordered eating behaviors, this choice was also made because the researcher had access to students at the large southeastern university. However, graduate students were excluded in this study due to their theoretical training that likely desensitizes them to the media effects issues and makes them more critical than the average person. Furthermore, this study excluded international students and ind ividuals who have lived in the United States for less than 17 years because their immersion in another in a comparison of Chinese, Korean and American students, Jung and Forbes (2007) found that American college women had the lowest body dissatisfaction of the three. Also an analysis of 26 countries revealed that there are indeed differences in the ideal female body across 10 world regions (Swami, Frederick, Aavik, Al caclay, Allik & Anderson, 2010)
36 Individual Interview Rationale Qualitative research was necessary to add to the literature and gather descriptive data. There are multiple methods for conducting qualitative research, and through examining the goals of the study, interview format was determined best. Individual interviews were chosen for the purpose of obtaining descriptive responses and the opportunity to step into the mind of the par ticipants and experience Instagram as they do themselves (McCracken, 1988). The in depth interview is meant to gather world of the interviewee with respect to interpretation of the 3, p. 174). There are several reasons why individual interviews were chosen over focus groups. While focus groups provide collective information about an experience within a similar group, individual interviews provide richer data about this experience that was most v aluable due to the lack of descriptive data on this topic (Creswell, 2013). Furthermore, focus groups are typically a better option when there is potential for individuals to be uncomfortable talking about a specific topic. While the interview discussed se nsitive information related to body ideals and comparisons with those ideals, the topic of social media was appealing to this particular age group and did not foresee issues with participant discussion. Finally, a group setting was eliminated because the m ost important concepts related to this topic, such as why they use Instagram and body ideals, would not be discussed in detail. In addition, the photo sort in a group setting could present issues with participants not agreeing on photos causing specific fe elings, as this is highly personal. Despite in depth interviews being the preferred method, the researcher was aware of the challenges associated with this method. Some of these challenges include
37 participant behavior, following instructions, dealing with sensitive topics, and phrasing questions to ensure questions are not leading (Creswell, 2013, p. 172). Additionally, interviews are especially time consuming and can be emotionally taxing depending on the topic and behavior of the participant. To combat t hese challenges, informed consent form given to all participants covered appropriate areas that would make the participant comfortable. A priority was made to notice misunderstandings in questions and probe answers that were not fully developed by the part icipant. An area that causes most distress in interviews is equipment malfunction. The researcher came prepared with two from the College of Journalism and Communications. T here are several ethical issues that also arise regarding interviews, including protecting the anonymity of the participant. Since these interviews were conducted face to face, there was no anonymity and this was specified to the Internal Review Board. The participants were also given an option to choose an alias for the individual interview to protect their identity. Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics, compensation was given at the beginning of the interview to ensure that the participant was aware that even if they wanted to leave the interview due to discomfort, compensation was guaranteed. Photo Sort Rationale The photo sort activity is central to the research. An area of the literature that needs exploring is how Instagram is used in real time by college aged women. Short from observing each feed, a photo sort was the way to gather immediate reactions to and feelings about real Instagram images. Additionally, the photo sort was a way to control the images that were seen int o organized categories with the same images for
38 each participant, something that would be very difficult to measure in a real Instagram feed. Photo sorts are known as a projective technique, which is useful in collecting descriptive and meaningful data (H ofstede, van Hoof, Walenberg & Jong, 2007) and for breaking barriers in communication that may prevent the participant s from revealing their true feelings (Hussey & Duncombe, 1999). It is frequently used in marketing research to discover the meanings of br ands because standard vocabulary to extensively discuss and explain their views on the image or This is a similar situation with Instagram, for i t is likely that individuals rarely discuss and explain the images they are viewing and how it makes them feel. The specific sorting technique used will be an association which in this research involves connecting the research object, Instagram images, wi th words that describe their feelings from the im ages (Hofstede, et al., 2007). T o replicate an Instagram feed that would be seen by a typical 18 to 24 year old l validity, the researcher used a three step process to create a realistic feed. First, the researcher found image categories from social media literature (Tiggemann & Zaccardo, 2015; Hu, Manikonda & Kambhampati, 2014) and narrowed them down to those that represented the more body focused image categories. These included: friends, activity, selfie, fitspiration, thinspiration and celebrity. The goal was to gather enough photos so that two photos per category would be represented in the photo sort activity d uring the individual interview.
39 Instagram Photo Gathering Survey Next, a survey was distributed to 18 to 24 year old college women using Qualtrics to gather images from the friends, selfie, activity and fitspiration categories. The survey was distributed message to share the survey link. The researcher posted the message and link as a status and encouraged friends and family to share. The researcher distributed the survey in this manner because she wan photo sort activity the participants were not able to recognize or identify the individuals in the photo. This inability to recognize individuals in the photos was important in terms of privacy and to prevent pa in the picture. Because the vast majority of the researchers Facebook friends are from the Northeast, this method helped eliminate the aforementioned problem. However, as an added safeguard, the r esearcher included criteria to the survey that eliminated University of Florida students. The post was shared more than 29 times and received more than 20 comments. Family and friends tagged individuals who they believed met criteria for the survey. Indivi duals were not compensated for participating in the survey. The survey began by asking demographic questions to eliminate those who did not qualify. To participate in the survey, the participant needed to be female, within 18 to 24 years old, enrolled in a university and must have lived in the United States for at least 17 years (see Participants section above for an explanation of the requirements). Once they met the criteria, they were instructed to upload one photo per category. The categories for the survey included four out of the six categories selected for the study: friends, selfie, activity and fitspiration. Category definitions based on previous (Hu, Manikonda & Kambhampati, 2014; Tiggemann &
40 Zaccardo, 2015) were provided to give respondents a common definition for each category. The categories and their associated definitions can be found in Table 3 1 Table 3 1 Image Category Descriptions Category Name Category Description Friends Please upload a photo from your feed that contains at least two individuals. Activity Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual (or individuals) participating in an outdoor or indoor activity such as a concert, social gathering, special event or travel. Selfie Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual taking a self portrait. This will contain one person. Fitspiration Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. The participants were also instructed to find photos that focused on the body. Photos also were not required to have a face so they could be below the head. This specification was necessary to ensure that the photos were of the body. A total of 56 responses was gathered with the survey with a total of 19 images uploaded to the friend s category, 16 uploaded to the activity category, 16 uploaded to the selfie category and 18 uploaded to the fitspiration category. No t every participant uploaded a picture per category so the numbers are not the same in each category. Moreover, many of the photos uploaded did not match the category description despite providing definitions to participants. For example, one participant u ploaded the same picture for each category. In particular, two categories were problematic. The selfie category was defined an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks n.d.). However, many participants uploaded
41 photos of just their faces rather than their entire bodies, which was in the directions. Bodies were needed in the selfies because this study is testing body image so selfies with the entire body were necessary. In addition, some participants uploaded photos of their entire body, but the photos were taken by someone else. The second area they had difficulties with was the activity photos. The most common issue among the activity photos was the similarities it ha d with the friend category, which was not foreseen by the researcher. For example, while the photo may have demonstrated a group of individuals partaking in an activity, such as hiking, the researcher decided this was too similar to the friend category des cription. This was likely due to the description of the activity category, which did not specify the number of people that should be in the photo. Figure 3 1. Example of photo uploaded to activity category and removed due to friend category similarity
42 Because of these two problematic categories, two solutions were created. For the selfie category, another selfie image was requested of participants who were going to rate these images. Regarding the activity category, as many photos were excluded as possible that could be confused with another category. An example of a photo that was re moved can be found in Figure 3 1 because it was too similar to the friend category, regardless of obvious hiking activity in the photo. From here, the researcher began to evaluate the images uploaded and selected the three photos per category that best matched the description of friends, activities and fitspiration. The images were evaluated based upon quality, category description and appropriateness. Category fit was not the only issue. Some photos were pixelated, out of focus or were unable to retain quality when cropped if taken at a distance, so these were eliminated as well. Overall, 60 photos were eliminated that participants provided. There were several reason s why so many photos were eliminated. First, as described, they simply were not enough that were high quality. Second, the instructions may not have been clear enough to participants. First, with the activity and fitspiration categories, it should have bee n noted that only one individual was to be in the picture. This detail would have been helpful because when more than one person is in the image it can be confused with the friend categor y, as demonstrated in Figure 3 1 In addition, a more precise selfie description would have benefited the participants, as this was the category that participants struggled with the most. Indeed, instructions to have a picture that displayed the entire body was included, however, an example picture may have been helpful in
43 photos could be confusion about the term. It seems in this group, selfie means a photo of the face rather than the body. Researcher Gathered Instagram Photos The researcher gathered the remaining two categories for the photo sort -thinspiration and celebrity. Thinspiration photos were chosen due to the sensitive nature of thinspiration images. Thinspiration images are often pro eating disorder, and many of the hashtags are banned and give a warning when searched. Since the photo gathering participants were not screened for eating disorder symptoms, it was not ethical for participants to search for them. Due to the large amount of resources documenting top Insta gram accounts, as well as current news focusing on celebrity, it was not necessary to have the students select celebrity accounts. To gather the celebrity images, a list of the top followed celebrities on Instagram 2016) was initially consulted. From the list, the top five female celebrities from the list were randomized in a Excel spreadsheet in randomization displayed Beyonc and Kim K ardashian. However, due to the age difference between these celebrities and the participants, two celebrities were randomly demographic. This was due to the researche with at least one celebrity. For example, both Beyonc and Kim Kardashian have had children, something that the typical enrolled college student likely cannot relate to. This could also impact the way they talk randomization displayed Selena Gomez and Kylie Jenner, both within the same age
44 photo to use in the photo sort. The criter ia used for choosing the celebrity images was that it had to include their face so the participant could recognize it was a celebrity, it had to include their entire body, and it should appear to be a photo from a photoshoot or staged. Ideally, the photo w as to come across as staged or a photoshoot in an attempt to differentiate the photo category. Two to three photos of each celebrity were chosen and shown to fellow graduate students. The goal of the study, along with the criteria listed above (face includ ed, photoshoot), was described while displaying the photos. The graduate students assisted with narrowing down the photos. Both photos chosen showed the celebrity in a bathing suit because it showed their body more than fully clothed images. To gather the thinspiration photos, several hashtags were used on Instagram to find photos for this category, including #proana, #promia, and #thinspiration. The hashtags that resulted in the final photos were #thinstagram and #skinnygirls. The criteria for choosing th ese images were two fold. First the image showed the body from the neck down because this study was more body focused making faces unnecessary. Second, images had to show intense slenderness such as bones were obviously protruding, like ribs, and exception ally thin arms and legs. Consultation with fellow graduate students was not done for selecting these final photos due to the sensitive nature of this category. There was certainly no lack of photos that matched this criteria, and the decision on the final two photos was made because they were more tame than other photos matching these criteria and hashtags. While students who scored for an eating disorder were eliminated, it was decided that showing some of these more
45 extreme photos could create distress. T his turned out to be the right decision, as the photos that were chosen did initiate feelings of concern. Photo Review Survey The next stage in choosing photos for the photo sort involved whittling down the samples. Using three photos for the categories of friends, activities and fitspiration, the researcher used an online survey to gather feedback on the images (outlined below) and choose the final two images for each of the aforementioned categories. The photo review survey was emailed to all 24 individ uals that provided their contact information during the original photo gathering survey. Of the 24 participants that were contacted, four filled out the photo review survey. Participation was likely low due to the lack of compensation for participating in this second part, especially since the first survey also did not include compensation for participation. The survey was divided into three parts. First, three photos from the friends, activities and fitspiration categories were set up to be randomized in Qualtrics. Randomization of these questions was used to eliminate the potential of an unintentional third variable, such as the order of the photos, that might influence the results. Three statements, which constituted the three category descriptions, were listed of the categories were adjusted from the descriptions provided in the original participant survey. These adjustments were made to provide additional clarity as discussed between the researcher and the supervisor since there seemed to be some confusion regarding matching photos to categories in the initial survey. Thus, more details were
46 shows at least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are Respondents then were instructed to rate each photo on a seven point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree for each of the three category descriptions. The next section of the survey requested that the participant upload an addit ional must be of the entire body. It does not need to include a face. You can upload it here or a selfie photo, only one participant uploaded a photo matching the selfie description provided by the behind the lack of matching photos. Photos that were eliminated were of the face only rather than including face and body. The third part of the survey was a ranking activity. All nine photos from the first part of the survey were displayed and participants were asked to rank the top three (out of 9) that best matched the pr ovided category description. The ranking activity was intended to provide additional support for the selected images per category, ensuring that the final two selected were the best fit. Final Photo Selection To determine which two photos best matched th e category description, the researcher first went through and selected the photos that had 100% agreement in category that all participants unanimously agreed upon was the friend category. In regards to the activity category, there was a problem. Participants sorted t he photo displayed in Figure 3 2 into both the activity and fitspiration category. Because the
47 photo was eliminated. One of the three images for the thinspiration category were not agreed upon, so this photo was removed from that category leaving two photos to use for thinspiration. After the elimination of activity and fitspiration photos, Likert scales and rankings coordinated with the top photos for fitspiration and activity. The photo elimination process and Likert scales provided the same top two photos for the fitspiration and activity categories and were used in the individual interview. F igure 3 2. Eliminated photo In regards to the selfie images, only one participant provided an image that matched the description during the photo review survey. Because gathering selfie photos failed twice, researcher had to find images that fit on her ow n. Selfie photos were found by searching Instagram using #selfie and choosing an image that showed the entire body of the individual and was taken by the individual These selfie images were not tested with the target audience for two reasons. First, the s elfie photo was
48 found with the selfie hashtag, ensuring that the image chosen was defined as a selfie in terms of Instagram.. In addition the researcher is well versed in social media and felt confident that the two final selfies were accurate representat ions. Finally, during the photo sort, multiple participants noted that she had seen images similar in her own feed which assured the researcher of her choice. The final photos selected can be found in Appendix D. Phase 2: Individu al Interviews and Photo S orting A screening survey was used to gather participants for the individual interview and ensure they met eligibility criteria. The first criterion was demographic. The participants had to be a female, between the ages of 18 to 24, enrolled as an undergra duate student at a large southeastern university, and must have lived in the United States for at least 17 years. The second criterion was related to eating habits because it was necessary to exclude individuals with eating disorders for ethical reasons To test for this, the Eating Disorder Attitudes (EAT) test (Garner, Olmsted Bohr & Garfinkel, 1982) was utilized he most widely used standardized self report measure of symptoms and concerns characteristic of eating disorders udes Test n.d.) The m terrified of being overweight. point scale from always to n ever The scoring was as follows: if alw ays is selected, they earned three points; usually two points and often one point (Garner et al., 1982). A function in Qualtrics made it possible to add the points to the questions Anyone scoring a 19 or higher was eliminated from the pool and given a r ec ommend ation to contact the
49 Health and Wellness Center at the University of Florida because this is the score for eating disorder risk and symptoms (Garner et al., 1982). The third criterion was overall knowledge about using Instagram because participants w ho were familiar with the platform will provide insightful responses. This section featured three different social media types of scales. First, the Facebook Intensity S cale (Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe, 2007) was utilized. The questions utilized a five p oint Likert attitudinal scale that ranged from strongly disagree to agree strongly Since the questions were Facebook centered, for example, Facebook is part of my everyday activity the word Facebook was replaced with Instagram. The scale consisted of a total of six questions. Second, two questions were asked regarding how many Instagram followers she had and how many Instagram accounts she follows. According to Statista Number of Instagram Followers of Teenage Users 2015) the average teen ager had at least 100 followers on Instagram. It was important that the participant followed enough individuals on Instagram that the photo sort was applicable for them, so the participant needed to follow at least 101 accounts to participate in the indivi dual interview. Finally, a criterion was created t o find out how often the participants used Instagram To do this, information was utilized from the Pew Research Center to create a scale that measured usage from never to several times a day (Thompson, Pu rcell & Raine, 2013) This seven point scale was used for four questions that focused on Instagram participant must have met minimum requirements for interacting with Instagram on a semi r egular basis. For the purpose of this research, semi regular includes: scrolling
50 through the application at least once every few weeks, commenting and liking photos at least once every few weeks and posting at least once a month. A screening survey was cre ated in Qualtrics and distributed through three methods. The first method targeted female oriented student groups, specifically the Associ ation for Women in Sports Media, Being a Girl (B.A.G.), and F lorida Women in Business and Advertising Society. These s tudent groups were contacted through their individual pages on Facebook or an individual website. Second, three colleges were emailed (College of Arts, College of Health and Human Performance and College of Public Health and Health Professions ) with a req uest to send the survey link to their undergraduate students. Finally, the survey was distributed in a journalism class. Once a participant met the minimum requirements for Instagram usage, she was asked to provide her contact information if she wished to participate in the individual interview. Compensation for the individual interview was advertised as a $20 Amazon gift card. Through these distributions, a total of 115 participants took a screening survey. Of the 115, 30 qualified for an individual inter view. Thirteen individuals were eliminated due to demographic data, meaning they did not fit the criteria of a female, University of Florida undergraduate student that has lived in the United States for at least 17 years. Eleven individuals were disqualifi ed due to her EAT score, meaning she scored above a 19 and therefore met the criteria for an eating disorder. Fourteen participants were eliminated due to her limited Instagram usage, as specified in the criterion for Instagram. Forty seven participants st arted the survey, but did not complete. There are two theories regarding the lack of survey completion. First, many participants stopped during the EAT questionnaire, perhaps because of discomfort.
51 Second, the rest of the participants stopped during the so cial media questions, likely due to the length of the survey. Phase 3: Individual Interviews and Photo Sort If the participant was eligible for an individual interview, she was contacted via email asking if she was still interested in participating. If she was a mutual date and time were agreed upon and a room was reserved Nine out of ten of the interviews wer e was conducted in the science library at a large southeastern university in a study room reserved by the researcher. The participants were recorded with a voice recorder a nd interview once she left the room. No photographs or video contained the participant. All ten interviews took place on a large southeastern campus during the week of Janu ary 16 to January 20 2017 The interviews lasted from 45:54 to 60:53 minutes with the average length being 50:57 minutes. The first two interviews were pretests. However no large adjustments or reconfigurations were needed, so they were included in the r esults. In addition, before the first interview was conducted the researcher participated reflect the individual interviews and analysis of results (Hein & Austin, 2001). To complete the bracketing interview, the researcher recruited a fellow graduate student who had completed a qualitative research class. This graduate student acted as the interviewer, with the researcher as the participant, and asked questions from the interview guide to the researcher. This was especially important as the interviewer has a personal connection to the topic with a family member that suffers from an eating
52 disorder. By participating in the bracketing interview, the researcher recognized her personal investment and was then able to analyze the results o f the individual interviews without application of personal bias and expectation. Interview structure. The in depth interview was semi structured and followed an interview guide that focused on the following themes: social media usage, perceptions of bo dy standards, photo activity, discussion of photo activity, and impact on body esteem (Steiner, 1983). The structure of the interview can be found in Figure 3 3 Each section of the interview is highlighted below. Figure 3 3. Interview structure Social media usage was examined first, with questions asking the participant about her usage of social media and eventually her usage of Instagram (see Appendix E for interview guide) media plat Tell me ab Who do you follow on each platform? The goal of these questions was to gain a general view of how she use s and interacts with the platform on a daily basis.
53 The second area discussed was the respond with questions such as her personal body ideal, from where she learned this ideal, and where she sees this ideal The goal of these questions was to understand personal, peer and societal body ideals, an important part in understanding comparisons. Describe to me what the societ al ideal female body looks What influences this ideal body in society? How do you compare yourself to the ideal body in society cipated in the photo sort activity. Figure 3 4. Photo Sort Set Up 1) Fitspiration, 2) Celebrity, 3) Selfie, 4) Activity, 5) Selfie, 6) Friends, 7) Thinspiration, 8) Celebrity, 9) Thinspiration, 10) Activity, 11) Thinspiration, 12) Friends The 12 photos were previously randomized to ensure that no two categories appeared next to each other, for example, an activity photo next to an activity photo. Each photo had a number on it to help ease conversation. Also the photos were printed in blac k and white, to prevent any sorting based on the colors in the images. The photos were set up exactly the same each time, spread across the table with six photos per row. The one instance this varied was during the interview conducted in the science
54 librar y. The photos were still set up in numerical order but were placed in three rows rather than two due to lack of table space. To begin the photo sort, the researcher explained the directions while setting up the photos. The objective of the photo sort was first described, which was to place the photos in the most relevant feelings category. The participant was unaware that the photos belonged to particular image categories, such as friends, selfies and activities. In addition to photo categories, feeling ca tegories were also provided. The participant could sort photos into the following feeling categories: positive feelings, negative feelings, mixed feelings and no strong feelings. The participant was then instructed to first sort the photo into the most re levant feeling category, but that she could change the feeling category upon discussion if need be. These categories were chosen so that the participant could identify her feelings on a broader scale, while details regarding those feelings were discussed i n the post photo sort discussion. The participant was also given on a photo to simulate a typical Instagram feed. Liking a photo on Instagram is symbolized with a heart icon, which was printed out on 12 sheets of paper and cut out individually so the participant could like any of the pictures they categorized. Since likes on photos and statuses signify success and popularity (Bakhshi, Shamma & Gilbert, 2014), it was important to understand why the participant would like th e photos, particularly if she chose photos that gave her negative feelings. The participant was also given the option to comment on any of the photos, a function of Instagram that was also important to add to not only replicate the feel of a real feed but to gain descriptive information about commenting on Instagram as well.
55 In introducing the photo sort, participants were offered unlimited time to sort their photos into feeling categories. The researcher also confirmed that liking and commenting on a phot o was not mandatory to the activity. On average, participants took three minutes to complete the photo sort. The participant was typically silent a majority of the time while sorting, while the researcher occupied herself with reviewing the previous respon ses and writing notes. Sometimes during the photo sort the participant and researcher indulged in light conversation. The discussion following the photo sort sought to discover the meaning the participants attributed to the photos and how they believe Ins tagram contributes to body ideals among themselves and her peers. After the photo sort discussion, the interview concluded with a note to contact the university health and wellness center in case the topics discussed during the interview made her feel nega tively about herself or her body. Interview Analysis The analysis of the interviews was completed in the following steps. First, audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed by a professional transcriber. The digital recordings were uploaded to a private folder to which the transcriber only had access Also was used in all discussion. As the transcriptions were being completed the researcher created a code book utilizing theory driven codes ( DeCuir Gunby, Marshall & McCulloch, 2011) These theory driven codes were created based on the theoreti cal frameworks of the research. A description of these codes can be found below.
56 Table 3 2. Theory driven codes Code Name Code Description Positive Instagram feelings This would include any statements that she positively associates with Instagram. These positive feelings may be toward specific images, features or types of content she enjoys. This could also include positive effects from using Instagram, such as motivation. Negative Instagram Feelings This would include any statements that she negatively associates with Instagram. These negative feelings may be toward specific images, features or types of content she enjoys. This could also include negative effects from usi ng Instagram, such as addiction or negative body effects. Annoyance is also included as a negative feeling. Upward Body Comparisons with Instagram An upward comparison will be evident when she feels she falls short of a body type displayed on Instagram. This does not include comparisons to societal body ideals. This strictly includes upward comparisons on the Instagram platform. This excludes comparisons with any other type of mainstream media, ex. television or social media, ex. Facebook. Downward Bod y Comparisons with Instagram A downward comparison will be evident when she feels she exceeds the body type displayed on Instagram. This does not include comparisons to societal body ideals. This strictly includes downward comparisons on the Instagram pla tform. This excludes comparisons with any other type of mainstream media, ex. television or social media, ex. Facebook. Upward Body Comparisons with Mainstream Media An upward comparison will be evident when she feels she falls short of the body type di splayed within the mainstream media including television, advertisements, and celebrities. This encompasses the comparisons to societal ideals. This does not include Instagram but may include another form of social media. This can also include any addition al comparison, such as to models or peers. Downward Body Comparisons with Mainstream Media A downward comparison will be evident when she feels she exceeds the body type displayed within the mainstream media including television, advertisements, and celebrities. This encompasses the comparisons to societal ideals. This does not include Instagram but may include another form of social media. This can also include any additional comparison, such as to models or peers.
57 Table 3 2. Continued Code Name Code Description Interaction with Instagram Interaction with Instagram includes liking and commenting on the platform. This includes statements regarding the type of content she like and comments on. The motivation for this interaction should also be included Uses and Gratifications Any statement that explains why she uses Instagram and what she uses Instagram for This includes reasons for opening up the app and scrolling through. As suggested by DeCuir Gunby, Marshall & McCulloch ( 2011 ), a review and revision of the codes were made, in addition to discovering if there are any data driven codes. First, the researcher coded four transcripts using the theory driven codes, discovering that there were several data driven codes that should be included They can be found in Table 3 3. Table 3 3. Data driven codes Code Name Code Description Peers Usage of Instagram This include statements of how she use s Instagram compared to her peers. This also includes statements of how her peers use Instagram. How her peers react to specific images should also be included. Following/Unfollow This includes statements discussing who she follow s on Instagram and who follows her on Instagram. This section will also include reasons to follow/unfollow. The m otivation for following/unfollowing to be included Posting Photos This includes discussing the type of content she post s on Instagram, the criteria for posting a photo on Instagram or the motivation behind posting a photo on Instagram. This also includes discussion of photo filters and editing. Any mention of getting second opinions on photos should be included T he t iming of posting photos, such as Insta Prime Time, should be included here. The researcher updated the codebook and recruited another coder to ensure validity. The coder was a first year graduate student who had completed a qualitative
58 research class and had l ived in the United States her entire life. Utilizing the codebook with the theory and data driven codes, both researcher and coder coded four of the 10 interviews. Once both parties had coded the interviews, the researcher and coder met to discuss coding a nd verbally went through the four transcripts. T he coder and researcher agreed on a majority of codes and themes throughout the transcripts. Through this discussion, the coder and researcher agreed that some codes could be condensed and added. Table 3 4 sh ows the final list of codes that were used to examine the transcripts. Table 3 4. Final coding categories Code Name Code Description Positive Instagram Feelings This would include any statements that she positively associates with Instagram. These positive feelings may be toward specific images, features or types of content she enjoys. This could also include positive effects from using Instagram, such as motivation. Nega tive Instagram Feelings This would include any statements that she negatively associates with Instagram. These negative feelings may be toward specific images, features or types of content she enjoys. This could also include negative effects from using In stagram, such as addiction or negative body effects. Annoyance is also included as a negative feeling. Upward Body Comparisons An upward comparison will be evident when the she feels she falls short of a body type displayed on Instagram. This includes comparisons to societal body ideals, peer ideals, and self ideals. This comparison can happen on social media platforms, such as Instagram, or within mainstream media, such as magazines. Comparisons in daily activities and real life should also be includ ed Downward Body Comparisons A downward comparison will be evident when the she feels she exceeds the body type displayed within social media platforms, such as Instagram, or within mainstream media, such as magazines. Comparisons in daily activities a nd real life should also be included Interaction with Instagram Interaction with Instagram includes liking and commenting on the platform. This includes statements regarding the type of content she likes and comments on. The motivation for this interac tion should also be included Uses and Gratifications Any statement that explains why she uses Instagram and what she uses Instagram for This includes reasons for opening up the app and scrolling through.
59 Table 3 4. Continued Code Name Code Description Peers Usage of Instagram This includes statements of how she uses Instagram compared to her peers. This also includes statements of how her peers use Instagram. How her peers react to specific images should also be included. Following/Unfollow This includes statements discussing who she follows on Instagram and who follows her on Instagram. This section will also include reasons to follow/unfollow. The motivation for following/unfollowing to be included. Posting Photos This includes discussing the type of content she posts on Instagram, the criteria for posting a photo on Instagram or the motivation behind posting a photo on Instagram. This also includes discussion of photo filters and editing. Any mention of getting second opinions on photos should be included The timing of posting photos, such as Insta Prime Time, should be included here. Once these additions and revisions were made, the coder and researcher sat together to discuss where these changes applied. During the se discussions, 100% agreement was reached. The results of the coding and the overall themes found throughout the interviews are presented in the next chapter.
60 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter presents the results of the qualitative investigation into how college aged women negotiate Instagram images. A total of 10 interviews were completed in an attempt to answer the research questions. To best outline the findings of the research questions, this chapter will be divided into the following sections. The first section will provide a summary of the interview participants and her background. The next sections will provide a detailed analysis of each of the research questions. Within ea ch analysis of the research questions, themes related to the research question will be highlighted, with specific examples from the interview participants. The chapter will conclude with a summary. Participants Each of the participants completed a screeni ng survey in order to participate in the individual interview. Each name below is an alias chosen by the participant and is undergraduate students at the University of Florida. All participants identified as being White, a topic that will be reviewed in the discussion section. Due to the nature of the interview questions, each individual that participated in the individual interview scored below a 19 on the EAT test, ensuring she is not at high risk for developing an eating disorder. A ll participants had at least 100 followers on Instagram, followed at least 101 accounts and interacted with Instagram on a semi regular basis. While these criteria are present for each participant, individual backgrounds are listed below to provide the reader with a thorough review of these young women. A summary chart of the participants can be found in Appendix I.
61 Olivia is a 21 year old s enior. Olivia has more than 400 Instagra m followers and follows more than 400 accounts. She posts on Instagram a few times a month and scrolls through the feed several times a week, including activities such as commenting and liking. While she does not feel strongly about being out of touch if s in, she does feel included in the Instagram community. Julia is a 21 year old j unior with more than 400 Instagram followers. She also follows more than 400 Instagram accounts. While Julia scrolls through her Instagram several times a day, she only posts a few times a month. Even with Instagram being a part of her daily activities, Julia comments on a photo once every few weeks. However, Julia likes a photo several times a day. Samantha is a 21 year old senior with more than 400 Instagram f ollowers. Of the 400 Instagram accounts she follows, she likes and comments on photos several times a week. While she scrolls through Instagram several times a week, she posts a photo several times a month. She feels a part of the Instagram community and f eels out of Kellie is a 19 year old junior. She has 151 200 followers and follows 101 150 accounts. She agreed that Instagram is a part of her daily activities, scrolls through the app several times a day, and finds herself commenting and liking a photo about once a day. While she is active daily, she posts a few times a month. She feels out of touch when she does not log into Instagram and feels a part of the Instagram community. Chloe is a 20 year old junior. Chloe has more than 400 Instagram followers and follows more than 400 accounts. Chloe agrees that Instagram is a part of her daily activities and posts on Instagram several times a week. Her interaction with Instagram
62 includes scrolling through the app se veral times a day and liking or commenting Sarah is a 19 year old sophomore with more than 400 Instagram followers and follows more than 400 accounts. While she posts on Insta gram a few times a month, she scrolls through her feed about once a day. She likes a photo several times a day, but reserves comments for about once a week. She does not necessarily feel out of touch when she does not log into Instagram, but she feels like she is a part of the Instagram community. Lauren is a 21 year old j unior with more than 400 Instagram followers and follows more than 400 accounts. When Lauren scrolls through her feed about once a day, she most often interacts through liking photos. She comments on photos less frequently, about once a week. Lauren agrees that she is a part of the Instagram Elizabeth is a 19 year old sophomore. She has 151 200 Instagram followers and follows 301 400 accounts. She posts a few times a month, but scrolls through the app about once a day with interaction such as liking and commenting. She feels a part of the Instagram community a while. Lynn is a 18 year old freshman. Lynn has 201 250 Instagram followers and follows 151 200 accounts. While she scrolls through her feed several times a day, she posts a photo only a few times a month. In addition she interacts with Instagram throug h commenting and liking at least once a day. Lynn believes that Instagram is a part of her daily routine and feels out of touch when she has not logged in for a while.
63 Emma is a 22 year old senior. Emma is the only participant to identify as w hite and His panic/Latino. She has more than 400 Instagram followers and follows more than 400 accounts. Even with this large number of followers and accounts followed, she does not agree that Instagram is a part of her daily life. While she only posts a few times a mo nth, she scrolls through her feed several times a week and interacts through liking and commenting several times a week as well. She disagrees that she feels a part of RQ1 A: Feelings Associated with Instagram Images RQ1 A asked: What types of Instagram photos produce positive and negative feelings among college aged females? To analyze this question, the researcher broke it down into positive feelings among images on Instagr am and negative feelings among images on Instagram in the table found in Appendix J. Positive Feelings Positive feelings toward specific images revealed themselves during the photo sort especially. This section will discuss each photo that was sorte d into the positive category and why she sorted it that way. Overall, positive feelings category had more photos sorted in it than any other feelings category. Positive Feelings Toward Friends Photos Photos 6 and 12 belonged to the Friends category. All 10 participants sorted photo 12 in the positive feelings category, and 9 out of 10 participants sorted photo 6 in the positive feelings category. When asked what made these images create positive feelings, the participants all agreed that the individuals l easily be a picture she would see on her feed of her own friends (so the images were relatable).
64 look like they're having fun, they're going to a pa rty, enjoying their lives, looking that probably like a typical picture my friends would post or something like going out or something and having a good time. They just look like a normal group of loe) However, there were contradictions present when discussing these photos. While there is little doubt she felt positive toward these photos, some comments hinted that they were suspicious of the photos. Chloe was suspicious that an individual in photo 6 they're a ll looking at the camera, why would she possibly be looking over not solely because they are genuine, but because this type of photo is common on their feed. Positive Feelings Toward Activities Photos All participants sorted both activities photos in the positive feelings category. happiness and the atypical location seemed to be the prime motivators for these positive feelings. herself. She attention for the wrong reasons. (Chloe) don't live so they're doing something cool. (Sarah)
65 [Images 4 and 10] went on some sort of vacation from what is looks like because they're both very touri sty photos and vacations are fun and it's fun to see people around you having fun. You always like to see people around you happy. And they just look very happy to be having a good time and not doing school work. (Lynn) Positive Feelings Toward Selfie Phot os Only 30 percent of participants sorted selfies into the positive feelings category. Emma and Elizabeth sorted photo 3 into the positive feelings category, while Lynn sorted both photos into the positive feelings category. An appreciation for their outf its and exuded confidence were their motivators for placing these selfie photos in the positive feelings category. [Photo 3] I feel like she feels confident, like those kind of photos where you feel really confident with your outfit, so I feel happy f or h er that she feels that way. (Elizabeth) [Photo 5] That girl is happy about her outfit and she has really cute pants on. There's nothing bad about the photo. I don't feel like there's any objectification of her. She's just got (Lynn) Positive Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos Regarding fitspiration photos, both were sorted in the positive feelings category four times, with Lynn, Samantha and Julia sorting both in the positive feelings category. Kellie placed photo 1 i n the positive feelings category, and Lauren placed photo 11. These photos seemed to create positive feelings due to an appreciation for the [Photo 1] You see the girl a t the gym and she's happy about the gain she's makin g. She's trying to be healthy. (Lynn) [Photo 1] It's showing she probably worked prett y hard to get muscles. She just looks fierce you know, that gives me pleasure to see women doing that. And then number 11, seeing her at the gym shows a fierceness atti tude, I like that. (Julia)
66 People post a lot of pictures like this, like at t showing their progress and what they do. It could be moti vating and motivate themselves. (Samant ha) Positive Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos Only one participant placed a celebrity photo into the positive feelings category. Samantha sorted the celebrity photo of Selena Gomez into the positive feelings There was no mention or recognition that this was a celebrity. Positive Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos Only one participant placed a thinspiration photo in the positive feelings category. Olivia p laced photo 7 in the p ositive feelings category. Olivia made no mention of her Positive Feelings Summary Photos that produce positive feelings appeared to have the following in common: perceived happiness, appreciation for look (such as fitness or an outfit), and sincerity. Perceived happiness was shown most ly in images that depicted people smiling, such as the friends and activities photos. These provided the strongest positive reactions, and many mentioned she liked these photos because they seemed realistic and relatable, like something on her own feed. In r egards to appreciation for a look, such as the selfie, celebrity, thinspiration and fitspiration photos, these did not provide the strongest positive reactions but demonstrate that appearances do matter to these young women whether it is a body type or an outfit. Besides how she sorted individual photos into positive categories, additional concepts not specific to a category were found in terms of what made something positive for the respondents.
67 photos, as brought up by Kellie, which was a theme throughout the positive photos even if not mentioned by name. Seemingly genuine, happy photos provided the most positive I just like it to seem natural, at least try t o make it seem normal you know? I just like seeing people happy with friends. I know a lot of that is posed or whatever, but kind of originality, you know, just be yourself. (Kellie) They look lik e they're friends. They look like they're sincere, so that's why I put it in on the positive. I guess sincerity is the main factor in all of these pictures (positive categ ory). (Julia) Certainly, sincerity is important in photos that evoke positive feeling s, but as demonstrated with photo 6 (friends), participants were suspicious of posing and were able to easily recognize it. Perhaps the reason they did not place in the negative feelings category, as they did with other photos they determined were posing, was because this is something they do with their own friends in photos. This was not celebrity doing so. Mixed Feelings The mixed feelings category existed so that participants had a location to sort photos which they could not conclusively place a positive or negative feeling with. This proved to be a category that the parti cipants did rely on. Mixed Feelings Toward Selfi e Photos Four out of the 10 participants sorted the selfie photos in the mixed feelings category. Sarah, Samantha and Olivia sorted both in the mixed feelings category, while Lauren only placed photo 5. While they were categorized as mixed feelings, the p rimary emotions for the selfie photos in this category were negative. Annoyance and confusion
68 were the two primary emotions among these photos. Participants also described these ey do not understand the purpose of them. [Photo 5] She's cut out of most of her outfit and only showing the middle. That's another mirror selfie type thing. Which, when I was younger I did. It's just like a weird pose, but a lot of people do it. Whatever floats your boat. (Olivia) These are just annoying pictures to me. I mean they're not bad, but selfies are just annoying to me. You're just talking a selfie of yourself to show off something. (Sarah) I just don't really know why they're postin g them. Kind of weird pictures. (Samantha) Mixed Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos Photo 1 was sorted into mixed feelings by Emma and Lauren. Both fitspiration photos were sorted into the mixed feelings category by Elizabeth, Chloe and Olivia. The fitspiration phot os placed in the mixed feelings category demonstrated emotions of envy and some confusion as to the purpose of the photo. h a nice butt and I have severe butt envy. (Emma) n d her legs are so nice, I wish! (Emma) [Photo 1] If she were trying to show that she's working toward a goal of being healthy, then I would get that, but I'm not sure she's just like trying to encourage positivity or what she is doing. (Elizabeth) Mixed Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos Eight out of 10 participants sorted a celebrity photo into the mi xed feelings category. Photo 2 was sorted into the mixed feelings category by Emma, Sar ah, Chloe and Julia. Photo 8 was sorted into the mixed feelings catego ry by Lauren. Olivia, Lynn and Elizabeth sorted both celebrity photos in the mixed feelings category. Conflict
69 between who the celebrity personality was and what they are trying to portray in the photo led to more negative feelings regarding the celebrity photos. [Photo 2] I love Selena, but she can be a bit pro blematic at times, but whatever Selena, feel yourself. (Emma) [Photo 2] I'm just not sure what she's doing. Is her bathing suit coming off? I mean she doesn' t look bad or anything. (Chloe) [Photo 2] e annoying to me, especially if [Sarah] Number 2 and number 8 are both celebrities and they're both sexualized photos. That makes me have mixed feelings about them. I know the media wi ll do that, but that doesn't mean I can't be upset about it. [Lynn] [Photo 2] I have mixed feelings about just because i t's pretty played out, tries to look sexy, with the shoulder strap hanging off her arm. Like I said, she probably wouldn't look like tha ng to be a little sultry. (Julia) Mixed Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos Four out of 10 participants sorted thinspiration photos in the mixed feelings category. Lynn and Olivia placed photo 9 in the category, La uren placed photo 7 and Kellie placed both photos in the mixed feelings category. The mixed feelings toward the thinspiration photos were indeed best suited for the negative feelings category. Concern over the body type of the individuals, as well as recog nition that this is a pro eating disorder photo, were the two main emotions when reviewing these photos. [Photo 9] This picture is very similar to the types that go around with th reads of anorexia/bulimia. You shouldn't support or post pictures insinuatin g that that's a good thing. I didn't put it under negative feelings be cause I don't know what it is, so I would need to know what it was in context. If that's what it was, it would definitely be negative feelings. But this pers on just looks like Taylor Swi ft naturally, that's fine. So that one I would need context to judge adequately. (Lynn) [Photo 7] I really don't understand the picture because her face isn't in it. It could be like an ad for clothing. S he looks really skinny. (Kellie)
70 [Photo 9] I try n ot to be too judgmental because I'm re ally skinny, and people make comments to me for that. I'm not even unhealthy or anything, it is kind of scary how she's posed. I feel weird about it. (Kellie) Mixed Feelings Summary Sorting photos into the mixed feelings category appeared to be a strategy for trying to figure out the purpose of the photo. Not understanding the purpose of the photo often led to annoyance and dislike of the photo, with sometimes an acceptance of a initial liking of the photo, whether it be liking the celebrity or liking their fitness level, and then annoyance, or even comparison that resulted in negative feelings. Elizabe th and attention or likes. Emma, however, touched upon admiring the fitspiration phot o but then realizing that her own body did not look that way and becoming envious. Thus, mixed feelings overall appeared to be a path from initial positive feelings to negative feelings. No Strong Feelings The no strong feelings category provided a location for participants that could not option for the participants. No Strong Feelings Toward Selfie Photos Six out of 10 participants sorted selfie photos into the no strong feelings category. L auren and Chloe sorted photo 3 into the no strong feelings category, and Emma and Elizabeth sorted photo 5 into the no strong feelings category. Julia and Kellie sorted both photos into the no strong feelings category. While t he selfie photos were sorted into the no strong feelings category, the descriptions given by the
71 participants were more negative than neutral. However, these negative feelings did not seem strong. The reasoning behind the negative undertone for these photo s appeared negative emotions. [Photo 3] I didn't feel much about it becau se I don't really know her. If I knew her I probably wouldn't like it. It doesn't really have much of a feeling. Same thing with number 5 I cou ldn't see her face or anything. (Julia) [Photo 3] She's looking down, like you should be looking into the camera so that everyone can see you. It's jus t not really showing anything. (Chloe) [Photo 5] There's no face. If I can't see a face then I feel weird and n o connection to it directly. I don't know what they're getting across. (Elizabeth) ood picture. I don't like people who cut their faces off in pictures. I don't really get it. The outfit's not really that great. (Kellie) No Strong Feelings Toward Fitspiration Photos Three out of 10 participants sorted fitspiration photos into the no str ong feelings category. Sarah sorted both photos into the no strong feelings category, and Kellie and Emma sorted photo eleven into the category. [Photo 11] I don't really like pictures like that. It l ooks like she's like in a bathroom or something. Try harder and take a better picture. It d idn't really catch my attention. If I saw this on my feed I would just scroll right past. (Kellie) No Strong Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos Only one participant, Lauren, placed a celebrity photo in the no strong fee lings category. While this photo was sorted as no strong feelings, Lauren did indicate that because this individual is a celebrity she can have professional photos taken to make
72 her look good. She did not mention jealousy or anything outwardly negative, bu t these emotions were certainly not neutral as she mentions. irl, you are famous and you can have someone take pictures of you like that. That could be a magazine (Lau ren) No Strong Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos Seven out of 10 participants placed thinspiration photos in the no strong feelings category. Lynn, Elizabeth, Sarah, Samantha and Chloe placed both photos in this category. Julia placed photo 9 in this category. Indeed, participants lack of understanding of purpose behind the photo continued to prevent sorting photos into a positive feeling category. annoying to ust not something that I really like or have any feelings toward. (Sarah) there. I did think she looked a little thin and kind of lonely. (Julia) I didn't know if they were trying to advertise a boutique or something. I see a lot of people post pictures for stores and stuff, but they don't bother me in any way (Samantha) No Strong Feelings Summary Even though the name of the category evokes thoughts of neutrality, many participants used this category for photos that leaned more toward negative emotions. The responses to these photos continued to show evidence that purpose is essential to a photo being liked, understood and well received. These negative emotions were not strong and th e researcher suspects that the participants were uncomfortable with putting so many photos in the negative feelings category. In addition, the researcher
73 believes that because she could not understand the purpose of the photo, she could not pass full judge ment and place it in the fully negative category. Negative Feelings The final photo sort category was negative feelings. While participants utilized mixed feelings and no strong feelings to also demonstrate slightly negative or unfavorable feelings, the ma in negative feelings category was strictly utilized for strong negative feelings. Negative Feelings Toward Selfie Photos Chloe was the only participant to sort a selfie photo in the negative feelings category. These negative feelings seemed to be due to the perceived attitude of the individual in the photo. stomach and then her phone. I literally don't see any purpose whatsoever. I just really hate it. I think a big part of it is because sh e looks like she is going to stick her tongue out. I would unfollow her. (Chloe) Negative Feelings Toward Celebrity Photos Only one celebrity photo was sorted into the negative f eelings category. Six out of 10 participants sorted photo 8 into the negative feelings category, Emma, Sarah, Kellie, Chloe, Samantha and Julia. As previously noted, recognition of a celebrity and their persona affected how these photos were received and often led to negative reactions. In addition, lack of clothin g led to the sorting of the celebrity photos. She's just half naked and not looking at the ca mera. Maybe if her bathing suit was covered a little more I wouldn't have such negative feelings. I just think if you want to have a picture of yourself that's fi ne, but why'd you have to post it? (Chloe)
74 I have negative feelings because it's Kardashian. an image that she's rich and famous and has the ideal bod y shape, but it's just not true. Her hair, the (Ju lia) I just think this is clearly super posed. It's probably like a profession al photo shoot. I just I hope no one's really looking at her body and trying to attain that through natural means, because it's a little goofy in the picture to me. I do n't get it, because she's in a pool, trying to act casual, but I bet if her hair even got a litt le bit in the water she'd freak out. It doesn't even seem natural. You are trying way too hard, please stop. ( Kellie) Negative Feelings Toward Thinspiration Photos Thr ee out of the 10 participants sorted a thinspiration photo into the negative feelings category. Julia sorted photo 7 into this category, Lauren placed photo 9 and Emma placed both photos into the negative feelings category. Recognition that these photos d epict an unhealthy and unrealistic body type led to the sorting of these photos. [Photo 9] She looks like she could be a model, b ut this is like the whole thigh o naturally or unnaturally have a thigh g ap. (Emma) [Photo 7] It made me feel sad. The girl in the photo looks very, very thin. A little bit sickly, just cause like her elbows poking out and I've just seen a lot of these photos on Instagram where they're in recovery. I'm jus t so glad that those p eople had received help, but I know others will post pictures like thi s and continue to do that, so that makes me feel a little upset, thinking about. (Julia) Negative Feelings Summary Overall, seven out of 10 participants placed a photo in the negative feelings category; however, unlike many of the other categories, this was typically restricted to one or two photos. As evident in the interviews, negative feelings were much more personal and stronger than positive feelings. While not having a sincere and evident meaning in the photo has certainly been discussed as having negative implications, the negative feelings category served as a location for photos that not only lacked meaning but also generated feelings of anger and sadness.
75 Anger was reserved fo r the selfie and celebrity photos with some noting the particularly because of her portrayal of an unrealistic skinny, makes my hips look big. T very unnecessary to me. (Sarah) How clothed an individual is in a photo is also reason for negative feelings. Photos that display scantily clad women, even if they represent some body ideal, are not seen as positive or motivational. This is exemplified in photo eight. While only seven out of the ten participants sorted photos into the negative feelings category, six out of such as not wearing enough clothing in an image. Third, the negative feelings described in the photo sor t were not related to how it made her feel about her own bod y but rather the content of the photo itself. If a photo is blatantly staged or if she is confused as to why it is being posted negative feelings will be attributed to them. Another negative feeling, sadness, was also displayed. Feelings of sadness were reserved for the thinspiration images. Participants recognized that these body types are not healthy, but that they are also seen as desirable in some cases, such as having the figure of a model. Overall, while the negative feelings category was reserved for the strongest of these type of feelings, mixed feelings and no strong feelings categories also contained images that created negative feelings in participants.
76 RQ1 B: Negot iation of Instagram Images RQ1 B asked: How do college aged females negotiate images and then behave when images produce positive or negative feelings? To negotiate is to find a way through, and this section of the results will attempt to explain how colle ge aged women find their way through the constant feed of Instagram images. To properly explain this research question, this section will first begin with a discussion of how college aged women received Instagram images through how they themselves receive the images and how their peers receive the images. To explain the behavior associated with positive and negative feelings toward images, the researcher looked past the photo sort and into other sections of the interview to discover what drove interactions with Instagram from these feelings. This interaction includes liking and commenting on a photo. Reception of Images A key part of understanding how college aged women negotiate Instagram images is understanding her worldview, particularly how Instagram im ages are received within this audience. To demonstrate this, discussion of how her peers receive and understand these images will be discussed first. Next, her own understanding of these images will be presented. Peer Reception Participants frequently not ed that they were not confident in her negotiate Instagram images, specifically that all of her peers are much more inclined to compare their body types to those seen on Instagram. First, the participants noted that her
77 They think everything's real. The reason that they strive to look like something is because they think it's so real, but they have to keep up on so many things. They're just so artificial and not real. You can do a nything you want to a picture. (Chloe) I think people are aware [of portraying an ideal], but they will go along with it because they want to be a part of it. They want to look that way [the ideal] as well and they compare themselves, but they will never l ook good because they care too much about what peopl e think. (Kellie) The interviews also revealed what these ideal bodies look like. Participants agreed that the celebrity and fitspiration photos would produce body comparisons within her peers. Chloe and Julia noted that the celebrity photos, especially photo eight, would create body comparisons with her peers due to lack of clothing. This perception that Instagram has a greater impact on their peers is known as third pe media messages have only minimal influence on them but greater influence on other people influence t hem but would others. While the fitspiration photos were discussed as having potential for body comparison, they also have the potential to make their peers feel guilty. The gym pictures [Photos 1 and 11 fitspiration h I should go (Sarah) However, this guilt may be fuel for motivation as Sarah later explained. In addition, other participants noted that not all of their peers are easily duped. Lynn and Elizabeth especially spoke out that their friends have reasonable goals and do not buy into the thin ideal. These thin ideals were best evidenced in the celebrity and fitspiration categories. I feel like most of my friends are comfortable with where they're at. I don't think any of my friends want to be very s kinny. (Elizabeth )
78 I am happy to say that my f riends just want to be healthy go to the gym to stay healthy rather than t rying to achieve some body goal (Lynn) The researcher believes the reason for this disparity to be the characteristics of the friend groups in general. While it was not specifically measured, there were participants that mentioned their sorority involvement. The participants with sorority invol vement had less confidence in their peers, while those who noted academic achievements and club involvement were confident that their peers did not interpret Instagram as promoting achievable ideals. Participant Reception Indeed, understanding how her pe ers buy into the thin ideal and compare to Instagram images is important. However, most critical is understanding how the participants themselves described comparing to Instagram images. Throughout the photo sort, particularly within the positive feelings category, participants repeated that the individuals in the photos looked happy, so it made the participants feel happy. This is further demonstrated by comments made by participants in the photo sort. [Positive feelings category] They all look very happy and like they're having a good time. When I see someone thoroughly enjoying elatively hard and it's nice to see them rewarding t hemselves. People deserve that. (Lynn) [ Photo 10 Activity ] She's encouraging yo u (the girl in the photo) to sort of live in the moment and be happy with even the littlest things. (Elizabeth) It is evident that while photos were received positively, there is concern by the researcher that these are not accurate perceptions of the indi Julia was the only participant to openly admit to photos on Instagram making her feel that initiated these feelings and potentially shed light into deeper readings of these images. The
79 researcher realized that one participant certainly does not speak for all; however, photos in the activity category were consistently placed in the positive feelings category, even with Julia. Indeed, it did appear that recep tion of Instagram images among participants may have more negative implications than the majority of participants let on. Motivations for Interactions with Photos Besides looking at her negotiations, the researcher also looked at her interactions (i.e., liking and commenting) with photos. It begins with interactions with positive feeling photos and then loo ks at negative feeling photos. Positive Feelings Motivate Interaction During the photo sort, photos that were sorted into the positive feelings category received the most likes; however, commenting varied. Beginning with liking, likes were typica friend.' show of support Chloe, however, had different thoughts on liking a photo. She felt that liking was an automatic, thoughtless activity. Subconsciously when your scrolling t a am going to like their picture.' little circle in the like it. Bu t then in my head, see the picture?
80 Therefore, liking is more unconscious and involves little thought. It is more of a more effort and motiva tion. How and when she would comment varied. Lynn discussed scenarios in which she would comment on photos in the photo sort. For example in photo 4 (activity), the photo of the individual snowboarding, Lynn mentioned she would have commented a personal s tory from a time she was snowboarding. For photo 5 (selfie), she would have made a positive comment about the pants in the photograph. Emma also discussed how she would comment on the photos if these were individuals she knew. If this was just a random s Friend ], but if my For this one [Photo 4 Activity ] I wou Although three participants said she would comment, seven said she w people in the photos showing the importance of having a relationship with the pictured person and commenting. For me at least, I only comment on things that my frie nds are in or like, if it was a their name, tag them in it so that they could see it also. (Olivia) comment these people per sonally. (Sarah) While the researcher anticipated liking and commenting on photos in the negative feelings category, both liking and commenting were revealed to be interactions specific to positive feelings toward Instagram images. However, it is important to highlight that liking was more of an unconscious action. This was especially concerning
81 due to conversations relating to the importance of how many likes a photo receives, with some participants noting that they have friends that will remove a photo if it does not receive enough likes. Thus, these discussions demonstrated that liking may be perceived as support and acceptance of a photo, but in reality, liking represented more support and acceptance appeared to be commenting within this demographic. Negative Feelings Motivate Interaction Though there were photos sorted into the negative feelings category, it was not the interactions that were evident but the lack of interaction. Not one individual placed likes or comments on any of the photos sorted into the negative feelings category. Instead, a few participants discussed unfollowing or blocking the photos that elicited negative feelings. For example, Chloe said she would not only unfollow this account if she saw it on her feed Although only one person said she would block one of the photo sort photos, unfollowing was discussed throughout the overall interviews with most participan ts. The Unnecessary, in the context of these discussions, meant the content had no meaning or purged celebrities on Instagram she did not have an interest in anymore, and Julia mentioned unfollowing someone because she disagreed with something they posted. Increased use of advertisements also lead participants to unfollow accounts. In regards to t he photo sort, Sarah described photo 8 (celebrity)
82 RQ1 C: Why Do College Aged Women Look at Instagram Images? RQ1 C asked: If Instagram photos have a negative effect, then why do they view them? Throughout the individual interviews, it was clear that the photos that were put into the negative feelings category were not photos she would see on her feed. A majority of the participants mentioned that she did not follow celebrities, who elicited the her feed, the following section alters how to address the research question. Instead of askin g why students view negative eliciting photos, it looks at the why she view s and uses Instagram photos in general and her criteria for successful and unsuccessful photos. Checking In Throughout the interviews, it was clear that each social media platform served a specific purpose and was to be used for specific reasons. One of the first reasons for opening and using Instagram is to check in on friends. so I mean a lot of people post there every day. You can kind of It gives you a little look [int o their day to day activities]. (Kellie) have it, kind of updated i n things that go on in my life. (Sarah) I u se it [Instagram] a lot more now because I want to keep updated on what my friends are doing. (Lynn) Furthermore, participants talked about the difference between Instagram and other photo driven social media sites, specifically Snapchat. Kellie mentioned, really easier for me to use Snapchat (to get immediate updates from friends) than to scroll intensive than other site s.
83 Inspiration and Motivation Others said she use s Instagram, in part, for inspiration. This inspiration assists in determining what she post s and what she hope s to one day post. In addition, Instagram inspiration may come from content, such as recipes. I like sharing ideas. I use it for food and things, so I like to get inspired or congratulate people on their accomplis hments or whatever they may be. (Julia) I like the quality of photos on Instagram. People take really nice photos and I think of th ose as (Elizabeth) so y ou can see what everyone else is posting (Chloe) Indeed, it does appear that following what she observe s in other posts is something she engage s in. In addition to inspiration, Instagram also provides motivation to some participants. Four out of the ten participants noted that they follow fitness accounts for motivation and inspiration. I follow a bunch of fitness ac counts and gyms for motivation. (Chlo e) I follow girls that have exercise videos and meal plans. (Olivia) [Fitness accounts] motivate me because I understand the pe rspective they are coming from. (Kellie) Discussions about inspiration and motivation certainly gave insight into why college ag ed women use Instagram. However, the researcher noted that finding inspiration from fitness images on Instagram did have implications for comparisons, which will be discussed in RQ2. Significant Events and Important Photos Participants agreed that they e
84 but you would probably post one of you cheering on the Gators in the sidelines. (Sarah) At an awards ceremony in high school, I received a medallion and mine was made sense that eve ryone was posting pictures of their medal. It was appropriate because it was a memorable experience, it was a milestone. (Lynn) doing wo rk and nothing really exciting. (Olivia) Thu s, mundane, day to day activities do not belong on Instagram. Rather, it is more of a scrapbook for significant events that have meaning to the person posting and to her friends and family. po st significant events. Facebook was overwhelmingly the location for multiple photos, while Instagram kind of get annoyed if someone posts multiple pictures in minutes of what they've been s many lik es if I post too consecutively. (Julia) Usually if you scroll through your feed you can see if like this person has had their picture up for like, sixteen minutes and they have 40 likes, it's a good time to post a picture. (Olivia) Searching for Photos Besides what she e xpec ts to see of her friend network, the women discussed the type of content she specifically sought out on Instagram, which fell into three categories. The first was related to fitspiration. Kellie used the Explore page on Instagram to find fitspiration accounts. While she searched for these types of accounts, she did not follow
85 them, specifically because the content they posted often urged followers to purchase their products. To avoid this, she simply searched for the accounts when searching for inspiration and motivation rather than follow. The second type was more behaviorally motivated. Olivia mentioned that she only searches for accounts, such as other people, when she is really bored. Finally, one participan t sought out recipes. RQ2: Appearance Comparisons RQ2 asked: What types of Instagram photos cause upward and downward body comparisons among college aged females? To fully explore this research question, body ideals will be discussed, emphasizing what so ciety tells college aged women to look like, and what she perceives the ideal to be. This section also explores comparisons as they occur on Instagram with herself and her peers. This research question concludes with additional insight found related to beh aviors on Instagram. Societal Body Ideals Throughout the interviews, the participants were asked to describe the ideal societal body, what her peers believed to be the ideal body, and her ideal personal body. In regards to societal ideals, several partic models as the current thin ideal, citing that being tall and thin was seen as beautiful. Another celebrity that embodied this ideal was Taylor Swift. However Lynn felt there was a body ideal shift going on in the U.S. Swift to Kylie Jenner. So, right now, it ranges from Taylor Swift to Kylie Jenner. If you had asked me two years ago, I would have said Taylor Swift Ask me probably a year from now the answer would proba bly be Kylie Jenner. The Kardashian clan, of which Kylie is a part, was also cited as displaying the ideal body type -curvy, tan, and with no cellulite. Celebrities were cited when explaining
86 the current societal ideal as well as explaining her al body as well. Kellie noted seeing her peers embodying this ideal. I mean you see a lot of girls are always trying to push their butt out in pictures trendy because I think (because of) Kim Kardashian. I feel like that that whole thing really escalated this. Participants were also asked where she frequently see s the ideal bodies As Show as a provider of this thin ideal. While there was a co nsensus that the mass media, such as television, portrayed the thin ideal, Instagram was also counted as a conduit of an unattainable image by all participants. Chloe explained where these ideal images are displayed: I mean it's everywhere, it's literally everywhere. Every magazine you look in, you scroll through Instagram, famous celebrities, the Kardashians anything you can think of like TV and movies. It's been like that for so long. It 's just been the ideal for so long. While these ideals are seen frequently, majority of participants realized that these ideals are not realistic. Julia commented: I don't think it's realistic. I think that people are different, very different. That everyone has different shapes and sizes, and I feel like if you are taking care of your body and you're getting physical activity and things and whatnot, you're treating yourself right. I think that's more of an ideal body. I don't think that the curvy, that ideal really exists without some type of it does. knew what went on behind the scenes. It's so unh ealthy and unrealistic. (Chloe) Fit Body Ideal s However, when approaching how her peers wanted to look, a theme of fitness and health emerged. Olivia mentioned that her peers idealized a fit body, describing it
87 frie gym twice a week just to stay healthy rather than trying to achieve some body goal. s what the standard has b ecome. (Sarah) Indeed, fitness and health were used interchangeably in the conversations with participants, and there was an emphasis on health being a priority rather than attempting to match an ideal. However, this fit body also translates to a lack of f at, which still embodies a flabless body ideal. Thus, when using the term healthy, it did appear that this meant flabless and at a low BMI. In addition, this ideal was also evident in her own personal ideals. The women denied trying to be a specific weigh t or ideal. Instead, she emphasized how she felt internally about her body and viewed her bod y more from the perspective of what it could do rather than how it looked outwardly. Elizabeth explained her personal ideal: I think my main goal is just to be h ealthy, like whatever weight I am. If it's a consequence of being an unhealthy eater, or not exercising enough, then I'll healthier,' but I won't say like need to los e these many pounds,' or anything like that. Just like to tell myself to buy healthier foods and be more conscious of how much I'm exercising and everything. Sarah also explained her personal ideal as healthy, For me, as long as I feel like I'm healthy. Like sometimes I'll g et away from exercising as much, and I'll feel myself like, start to feel kind of gross. At this point I'm pretty comfortable with my body and what I look like now. I take care of 's my ideal to just be healthy. (Julia)
88 as much more attainable. Many participants added that the societal ideal demands plastic surgery or unhealthy eating habits, and while a fit body demands hard work and dedicat ion, it is possible. I don't really think it [the societal ideal] is realistic. I feel like if you are taki ng care of your body and you're getting physical activity, yo u're treating yourself right, I think that's more of an ideal body. I don't think that t he curvy ideal really exists without some type o f survey very extreme dieting. (Julia) If you work hard eno ugh at it, then it's realistic. (Olivia) Certainly, the fit, flabless body has taken hold as personal ideals. However, despite acknowledging that thi s body type is attainable through hard work, it frequently became a body type the participants associated with guilt, aspiration and in some cases, motivation. This comparison will be discussed in the comparisons section of this chapter. Comparisons on In stagram Besides her thoughts on body ideals, there was also an exploration of her comparisons with Instagram images. All participants varied on the amount of comparisons she made. To properly explain the types of comparisons that occur on Instagram, spec ific examples will be used In addition, motivations behind these comparisons will also be discussed. All three motivati ons are summarized again below: Self evaluation his/her abilities, op Self enhancement an individual's biased attempts to maintain positive views of him/herself to protect or enhance self esteem Self improvement attempts to learn how to improve or to be
89 Comparisons in the Photo Sort Six out of 10 participants said that she compared herself to photos displayed in the photo sort. All agreed th at the fitspiration images photos 1 and 11, were the source of that comparison. [Photo 1] has certain goals I Have in mind about having more m uscle. (Julia) It [the photos] make me fe el that I should work out more. (Samantha) that I should be m ore fit. (Elizabeth) However, just because the participants did not clearly state that the fitspiration photos cr e ated comparisons, it does not mean that these comparisons were not evident throughout the conversations. For example, Olivia sorted both fitspiration photos in the no strong feelings category but did imply they made her feel a little self conscious In add ition, when viewing photo 11 It is apparent that while a fit body may be attainab le, it does trigger upward comparisons. These comparisons do not necessarily result in negative feelings, as motivation was also discussed as a result from viewing the images. These comparisons are demonstrated by self improvement motivation, meaning that while they compare to these images and the attributes in the photos (legs, arms), they are inspired and motivated to go to the gym and work out in an attempt to improve themselves. [Photo 11] gives me inspiration to have toner arms. (Lauren) Like if I don't feel like going to the gym, and I'm looking on Instagram, my fitness page kind of gives me a little more incentive to cook something or of give me a little bit better inner motivation than anything (Julia)
90 In addition to self improvement, two other motivations are also evident in these discussions. Self evaluation is certainly visible with comments on the direct impact the photos have on their fitness status. Self enhancement was demonstrated through their these comparisons are quite compl ex. This complexity is intertwined with an appreciation for the toned, healthy body, a desire to achieve it, and guilt for not currently having it. While complex, this is certainly not totally negative. Improvement, especially improving body health, is esp ecially important to longevity and quality of life. Based on these findings, it is possible that this healthy and fi t body is truly becoming a much more attainable ideal, motivating college aged woman to eat healthy and exercise rather than restrict her d iet. However, when discussing her peers, the societal ideal played a much larger role. Peer Comparisons While the above comparisons were mentioned participants overall insisted that her peers were more likely to compare themselves with Instagram images because they interpreted it as real life. This is yet another example of the third person effect, which media messages have only minimal influence on them but greater influence on other people The celebrity photos, photos 2 and 8, gathered the most responses for which images would ignite comparisons with her peers. whether friends or celebrities, any of their ideal the body is, (Lynn)
91 I think a lot of people use it in the wrong way. A lot of girls try to make themselves look different than how they really look, and it gives other girls they want to look like that, and it just leads to a bunch of other things. I think that a lot o f people abuse it, and just use it to make them someone they're not. (Chloe) Comparisons on the Explore Page Kellie mentioned she used the Explore page on Instagram to discover fitness advice, which led to photos with which she compared herself. However, she described these comparisons as motivational another example of the self improvement motivation. I will compare myself to people that I actually think worked for it and are in shape that (Kellie) In ad dition, Samantha mentioned the Explore page as being a place where she saw the most images to which she compared. Like Kellie, Samantha also compared to fitness images; however, images of people engaging in activities such as going to the beach triggered c omparisons. There are a lot of girl bloggers who are in different countries just sitting by pools or on the bea (Samantha) These comparisons were motivated by self evaluation, which as Samantha describes above, have her comp aring her own life (her activities, travel) to those she worth.
92 Posting Pho tos Although this study looked at several specific research questions, there was additional, illuminating information not addressed by any of the research questions. Specifically, the participants talked at length about posting behaviors, so this section reviews those findings because it contributes to the importance of Instagram in the lives of college aged women. Timing One of the first criteria for posting a picture to Instagram was timing, particularly the proper time to post a photo. Some participa Insta Time which is a time of day where getting a large number of likes was most likely. Chloe mentioned that while she was never concerned about posting a photo during a specific time, her friends were. She said, People who care about likes and stuff, they think the more sparingly they do it In addition to the timing of the day, the women considered timing between posting photos. For example, Lynn discussed the concept of waiting certain periods of y post something,' because something In two months. I had to cut like over two feet off of my hair over the summer, and I of this, and a mo n (Lynn) Samantha also commented on the timing of posting a photo She took time differences into consideration if she were traveling abroad and wanted to post a photo, she would wait until it was daytime in the United States. Another guideline in posting ph otos was an expectation for you to be in the photo, and the inclusion of oneself was a
93 point of differentiation between Instagram and other social media sites that allowed photos. There is a mentality that everything you have to post on Instagram has to b e of you. More than like other things, and that's annoying. Like, I'm fine taking a picture of myself, whatever, but like why does the picture I have to post pictures that they're not i picture of people you're expected to be in that group of people. Like if you go volunteer or go to church or go out to like a club or something I have pictures I might post to t somewhere else because it not a bad thing, but the picture is still Facebook depending I stagram) not the place for it. (Lynn) However, not all par ticipants put such thought into her posting. Kellie mentioning photos. She mentioned that she used to put effort into what she posted, but does not anymore and focuses on images that make her laugh and her artwork. She does, thinking you look good and knowing you look good. It was common for participants to get feedback from friends on poten tial posts prior to posting. For example, Sarah mentioned she had sent pictures to friends, these and one fil ter Instagram worthy Similarly, participants also expressed second guessing images before posting them, particularly selfies.
94 really like this picture? Do I want to put this pic ture posting some with other people (Julia) t hat I get sent to me are solo pictures that people are more nervous to post of t hemselves. (Chloe) quality, represents them well), only two participants, Chloe and Emma, discussed that they alter their photos with filters. Chloe mentioned that she uses an application cal led VSCO to edit her photos. However, these mentioned photo filters were not used to alter appearance but rather fix to color in photos and make them more vibrant. Whether it was finding an ideal time to post or ensuring the very best photo is posted it was clear throughout the interviews that participants were more concerned with her photos portraying an accurate version of themselves than posting photos that themselves mea nt that her online presence and accounts were the same as her Summary of Analysis Overall, there were several key findings. First, there were specific categories of Instagram images that resulted in positive and negative feelings. Pictures of friends and activities provided the most positive feelings among participants, gathering likes and comments. Celebrity photos, in particular the photo of Kylie Jenner (photo 8) c reated negative feelings amon g the participants. Many photos were classified as mixed feelings. For example, fitspiration images (photos 1 and 11) appeared to have caused comparisons but were read as motivational rather than shaming. Thinspiration images
95 and selfies had the least amou nt of emotional responses out of all categories, meaning that participants were generally indifferent Besides the category of the photo, there were also other attributes of Instagram photos that created negative and positive interactions and behaviors. Wh en positive feelings were felt toward celebrating an accomplishment, likes were provided If the occasion was especially big, or encouragement and support were deemed necessary, a comment will also be provided For a photo to create positive emotions, there needs to be a purpose to the photo Purpose is most demonstrated in the activity photos (photos 4 and 10), where it was clear to the participants what the individual in the photo was doing and her E motions associated with that activity. Purposeful photos were also posted at opportune times, and posting too frequently was unfavorable. Photos that showed scantily clad women were received as negative and would receive an unfollow instead of a like or c omment. Photos that were obviously staged and ingenuine were easily detected by the participants and while she may not immediately recognize those feelings as negative, her distaste for them was evident. see on Instagram, the participants were conscious of the content they were posting, even if they said they posted whatever they wanted. Upward comparisons were most evident in discussion bout fitspiration photos ( photos 1 and 11) while she stated her pe ers compared with celebrity images (photos 2 and 8) and fitspiration photos (photos 1 and 11). In addition, upward comparisons occurred on the explore page of Instagram. No downward comparisons were discussed
96 during the interview. In addition, all three mo tivations (self evaluation, self enhancement, self improvement) occurred during these comparisons. Overall, the individual interviews provided insight into how college aged women use Instagram that will contribute to areas of future research.
97 CHAPTER 5 D ISCUSSION Summary of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine how college aged females use Instagram and if this exposure influences appearance comparisons that resulted in body dissatisfaction, a predictor for eating disorders. To accomplish this semi structured interviews covered topics of social media use, body ideals and a photo sort activity intended to mimic an Instagram feed commonly used by females 18 24 years old. The main goal of this thesis was to discover what comparisons and emoti ons are attributed to using Instagram and if those comparisons and emotions could contribute to the development of an eating disorder. To discuss the findings the chapter will be presented in the following sections. First, an overview of contribution to the overall research goal will be discussed. Next, an overview of contribution to previous literature will be discussed This includes the form of thin ideals, appearance comparisons and photos on Instagram. The next section will discuss contributions to t he theoretical frameworks used within this study and how these lenses assisted with the interpretation of the study. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of limitations and future research suggestions. Contribution to Research Goal This study sought to discover if body dissatisfaction is influenced by using Instagram, and the research provides support for a possible relationship between body dissatisfaction and Instagram usage. To fully examine how this research contributed to the overall rese arch goal, two main functions of Instagram will be presented : looking at photos and posting photos. Looking at photos, or scrolling through a feed, and the
98 resulting comparisons will be discussed through evidence of the photo sort and individual interviews The criteria for posting photos and the corresponding behaviors associated with posting will also be examined. Together, these conclusions lend insight into the role Instagram plays in the lives of college aged women. The evidence presented in this secti on demonstrates that comparisons occur on the platform and that importance is placed on receipt of the images, such as comments and likes, creating a foundation for which future research may rely on to fully examine this topic. Comparisons to Instagram Ima ges The photo sort was the most revealing in determining the types of feelings attributed to Instagram images, and in turn, their potential influence. There are two categories consistently sorted in the positive feelings category that the researcher belie ves has minimal influence on college aged women. The friends and activities categories produced the most positive feelings out of all the photo categories almost unanimously. Nine out of 10 participants sorted the friend photos (photos 6 and 12) in the pos itive feelings category, while all 10 sorted the activities photos (photos 4 and 10) in the positive feelings categories. The feelings attributed to these categories appeared to be genuinely positive. The researcher was most concerned with the negative fe elings category, seeking to understand if these negative feelings were due to upward body comparisons. However, discovering which photos conclusively created negative feelings is not so simple to answer. This difficulty can be exemplified through the evide nce that the mixed feelings category and no strong feelings category also seemed to result in negative feelings. For example, only one participant sorted a selfie photo, photo 5, into the negative feelings category. However, when placed in the no strong fe elings category,
99 researcher will not conclude negative feelings just by the number of individuals who sorted photos in the negative feelings category, but rather he r comments associated with the photos in the negative, mixed and no strong feelings categories. Two photos throughout the photo sort consistently produced negative feelings. Photo 8 in the celebrity category did not receive a single positive comment. Howe ver, it should be noted that the celebrity pictured in this photograph, Kylie Jenner, and her family are incredibly popular and tend to create strong emotions just due to who they are, in addition to what they look like. In addition, photo 9 of the thinspi ration category did not receive positive feedback. While the comments toward photo 8 were much more associated with photo 9 were much more of concern due to her overt thinness. Interestingly enough, both of these photos portrayed societal ideals described by the participants. Kylie Jenner, photo 8, embodies the curvy, flabless ideal, while photo 9 embodies the svelte, runway model ideal. These ideals are displayed in the extreme in both of these photos, resulting in the negative feelings. There were indeed other photo categories that produced negative feelings. The selfie category, specifically photo 5 in that category, did not receive an overwhelming amount of negati ve feedback, but they were certainly not favorites among the participants. This is a category that exemplifies that negative feelings produced in this research were not necessarily focused on the body. For example, the photos in the selfie category receive photo, meaning the photo lacked purpose. The lack of purpose of a common theme
100 among photos that created negative feelings and was present in the celebrity, thinspiration, fitspiration and of cours e, selfie categories. While lack of purpose was specifically described by the participants as creating negative feelings, evidence exists that there were photos that created negative feelings even though they were not expressed explicitly. These photos be long in the fitspiration category (photos 1 and 11) and while the comments were not overwhelmingly negative, in fact they received positive comments, this photo category does raise concern. Participants were found praising the bodies portrayed in the photo s, recognizing the amount of work and time that these individuals put into their fitness. She noted that these photos were motivating, showing what she could potentially look like with a workout routine. This is perhaps, the most concerning part. She was a ware that photo 8 (celebrity) is unattainable without plastic surgery and photo 9 (thinspiration) is unhealthy, but she believes that the fitspiration photos are possible through hard work wish I had her The photo sort was not the only location where potential comparisons took place. During the interview portion, several areas regarding body comparisons on the platform emerged. Upward body compar isons also occur with accounts that she did not follow, such as photos found on the Explore page. Participants demonstrated that she could consciously and actively choose what content she sees on her feed, recognizing what types of photos make them her neg atively. Although she considers herself an active audience, she does not lend the same notion to her peers. She believes that Instagram does have an implication on body satisfaction, specifically with celebrity pictures. Also,
101 she believes her peers take I nstagram too seriously, and while they may not completely believe Instagram represents reality, she believes her peers place their appearance on Instagram as a priority in comparison with herself. Behaviors on Instagram There were several behaviors observ ed during this study that seem exclusive to Instagram. The first behavior observed is the process of posting photos on Instagram and recognizing what to post. Posting on Instagram seems to evolve with age with will like most) being put forth in high school compared to college. Less effort, in regards to these participants, meant sharing what she genuinely wants to share, such as a meal at a restaurant or an area in which she was vacationing. Time also played a factor in Instagram behaviors. Participants felt a need to post elapsed between posts. In terms of expected frequency, once every few weeks seemed to be the general consens us and not posting for a few months led to a fear that no one mean activities. It meant what you currently looked like, so a selfie would suffice. In terms of photos one po of the photo not getting enough likes to please the user. While there was no general number of likes that was agre ed upon among participants, some did mention that she has encountered friends removing selfies because it did not gather enough likes. Because of the perceived risk, many said she sought out second opinions. These second opinions typically came from texti ng friends several selfie options and having
102 them select the best one to post. The researcher believes that, no matter how little vulnerable. Selfies appeared to be v alidation that an individual is attractive. Although there was second guessing and apparent risk in posting selfies, the same phenomenon did not exist among photos with friends or pictures of places and food. This is perhaps due to the focus of the pictu re not being on one individual. ctures to load, that if she saw the username and recognized it as a friend, she would like the as validation that you are liked and that people care about you and your life. Contribution to Previous Literature How the research contributed to previous literature will be discussed in this section. Common areas of the literature rev iew, such as the thin ideal, appearance comparisons, and photos on Instagram, will be reviewed with comparisons and notes to the research completed in this thesis. The Thin Ideal The participants did not see just one body type as ideal; rather, she discus sed three ideals, which all intersected. The first ideal participants discussed was tall and largely seen as unattainable, but presented as desirable in society, particular ly in advertisements.
103 The second ideal was slender with curves, such as having a larger butt and breasts. This ideal was personified through the Kardashians, specifically Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. This body ideal was seen as even more unattainable, with suggestions that only cosmetic surgery could accomplish this body type. The third ideal was healthy and fit. The healthy and fit ideal was embodied through fitspiration photos, which participants viewed mostly positively. These images elicited both motivation to become more fit and reach the illustrated goal and guilt for with not working out enough, both of which have already been exemplified in previous studies (Boeapple and Thompson, 2016; Tiggemann and Zaccardo, 2015). Another aspect to this idea l was the concept of being healthy and happy. Many mentioned that she did not use fitspiration or fitness as a means to reach an ideal body type. Rather, and dedicati on. All of these ideals are intertwined with similarities and in the end, are flabless. While there is a variation in terms of hip, waist and breast size, there is an emphasis on being tone. In other words, curves are acceptable, but there should be no ji ggle. The main difference between these ideals was that the first two, the thin, model ideal and the Kardashian ideal, were seen as unattainable. However, the fitspiration ideal was seen as attainable to participants. When discussing where she sees these ideal body types, there was a general agreement that it is seen across mass media and on Instagram. However, when it comes to Instagram, these ideals are rarely seen unless sought out by the individual. This was exemplified through the participants largely being conscious of the types of
104 accounts she follows and the reasoning behind following those accounts. In addition, she is conscious of what she unfollows, such as accounts that no longer reflect their interests. Because of this, she is not often exposed to the ideals. An exception to this is fitspiration, which was a category to which all participants mentioned being exposed. Appearance Comparisons Previous literature has shown that comparisons with images on social media platforms have largely resulted in negative emotions and increased body dissatisfaction (Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015; Lup, Trub, & Rosenthal, 2015; Haferkamp and Krmer, 2011). Comparisons throughout the research can be exemplified several ways. First, among participants the fitspiratio n photos appeared to create the most upward comparisons, as they were seen as the most attainable. Fit body types were compare themselves with these types of body types rather than super skinny body types. The reason given for this comparison was she believed the individual worked for that body and it made her feel that she should be working toward a fit body as well. However, as noted in the discussion of body ideals, th is fit body type still follows several key characteristics of unattainable ideals: flabless and toned. Indeed, Boeapple, et al., (2016) and Tiggemann and Zaccardo (2015) found that fitspiration images are unattainable to the average female and while partic ipants mentioned being motivated by these photos, they still reinforce the need for females to obtain a specific body type. Another comparison discussed in previous research is the potential for images of friends and distant peers to create upward compari sons (Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015). However, the research did not find evidence that upward comparisons occur among these groups. Instead, images of friends and peers provided positive feelings that
105 included encouragement and support. Participants noted tha t the photos included in the friends and activities categories were photos she would likely see on her feed from her friends, reflecting an accurate representation of how she would respond to these photos on her own feed. Regarding comparison with celebr ities, Lup, Trub, and Rosenthal (2015) discovered that the more strangers or celebrities followed, the more negative comparisons occurred. However, the research found that the participants in the present study largely did not follow strangers or celebritie s, although some participants followed more than 400 accounts. If random accounts (i.e., unknown individuals) were followed, While participants made conscious choices about wh o she followed and unfollowed, the Explore page on Instagram does not allow for such specificity. (para. 1). Only two participants discussed the Explore page, however, both specifically mentioned that this is the location where she compares to images the most. Photos on Instagram With Instagram being a primarily image based platform, significant res earch was provided in the literature review related to social media photo usage. To add to the importance of discussing photos on Instagram, bodies are often bodies are understood and experienced through previous studies have found photo activities create body dissatisfaction (Meier & Gray, 2014). The research conducted in this thesis sought to have them participate in just that, a photo activity.
106 Several areas were revealed in the photo activity and di scussion. First, there are specific categories of photos that cause specific emotions. One study (Hu, Manikonda & Kambhampati, 2014) found that friends and selfies were the two most popular categories among Instagram photos, with activities a far third. Th e present study found that friends and activities were the most popular categories. Although she did not state that selfies were a popular category, participants did note that she would like and comment on selfies of friends to show support. Another categ ory of images, thinspiration, has been shown to be dangerous in normalizing eating disorders (Tilloston, 2012). Because of this, thinspiration images were used in the photo sort, however, these images did not create comparisons with participants. Instead, only one thinspiration photo, photo 7, received a positive comment from a participant, noting her dress rather than her body. Other participants noted that these images concerned them due to their thinness, with some recognizing that this depicted an unrea listic thin ideal. Thinspiration photos did not appear to be a concern among the participants Interaction with Photos Interaction with photos on Instagram was described as commenting or liking, as sharing is not a function currently available on Instagr am. Bakhshi, Shamma, and Gilbert (2014) found that photos with faces were typically more successful on Instagram, gathering more comments and likes than pictures without faces. This study also found that to be accurate. Photos that did not show faces confused the participants, making participants question what the purpose of the photo was. Besides specific facial expression, smi ling. Participants interpreted smiling in the photos as
107 genuine, which created the positive feelings category. For the purpose of this research, genuine means depicting happiness and sincerity. s findings supported Lee, Lee, Moon personalities and were utilized as a form of self expression by posters. All participants felt that all of her social media platforms, including her Inst agram, were representations of who she is as a person and that her feed shows highlights of her life. However, she was critical of images in the photo sort, such photo 5, selfie image, and photo 8, Jenner celebrity photo, because she felt the photos were s taged and fake. Contribution to Theoretical Frameworks Social Comparison Social comparison theory was especially useful in this study, and much of this study finding in terms of this theory was discussed above (i.e., appearance comparison section). In the review of the transcriptions, upward and downward comparisons were coded to gather an understanding of what types of comparisons were made on Instagram. Upward comparisons were described among fitspiration images with participants and celebrity images with peers. Downward comparisons were made several times during the span of the interviews. The most common type of downward comparison was made when the participant mentioned she was happy with her own body and felt no need to obtain the thin ideal. Thi s aspect of the theoretical model is most reflected in the interviews. It helped explain how college aged women compared her appearance on Instagram and the types of images she compared herself to. This study can be counted among the other social media eff ects studies that successfully utilized the theory (Fardouly & Vartanian,
108 2015; Lup, Trub, & Rosenthal, 2015; Tiggemann & Zaccardo, 2015; Haferkamp and Krmer, 2011). All three motivations were seen in the research (self evaluation, self enhancement, self improvement). While self evaluation, feeling self conscious, was seen when she makes upward comparisons to fitspiration (photos 1 and 11) images, self evaluation was most apparent when she looks at photos depicting travel and luxury. Self enhancement was e vident in the fitspiration comparisons as well. The participants were generous in their compliments and appreciation for these body types, recognizing the hard work that was put in to achieve the muscle and tone demonstrated in the photos. The last motivat ion, self improvement, was also evident when discussing the fitspiration photos. Many participants were motivated by the women in the photos, and while they mentioned desiring certain attributes from the photos, such as legs or arms, they mentioned that if they went to the gym they could achieve this body type. Indeed, upward comparisons occur when she looks at fitspiration images, however, these comparisons are complex and not necessarily negative. There is certainly concern over these comparisons, especi ally because individuals lose weight and gain muscle in different ways, but these young women are not mentioning limiting their diet or purging to obtain this body type. They understand that this body type is achieved by healthy means, such as working out and eating healthy, where the concerns lie however, is if they understand just how much work is involved. Uses and Gratifications This theory was used to provide a lens for understanding how Instagram is used and what it is used for One of the main uses of Instagram is to check in on friends and get updates. These updates were typically from peers and not older family members, as
109 they did not have Instagram accounts. Instagram was more time intensive and was not updates, a good amount of time was typically invested The concept that Instagram is not used for quick updates can be attributed to it being used for milestones, significant events, or pho One of the main concerns that of uses and gratifications describes is the concept of women using image focused social media like Instagram for gratifications, such as validation of her body image. While at tempting to validate this image, upward comparisons are made causing body dissatisfaction. Seeking more validation of her body image, a woman will continue to use social media in hopes of fulfilling that gratification, ensuing an endless loop of negative e ffects. This area of the theory -seeking out images for validation -was not evident in the study. In fact, she seemed very much aware of the types of accounts she follows and largely avoided accounts that would make her feel negatively about herself. O verall Contributions This study contributed to several areas of social media research. First, it accomplished the general need for Instagram research in the realm of social media platforms and their potential negative implications on women. Second, it also accomplished adding descriptions of lived experiences when using Instagram, including how they viewed specific types of photos. As far as the researcher is aware, there is no study that evaluates the different types of Instagram photo categ ories about how they make college aged women feel about her body. This research began to fill the gap regarding which photos have the potential to cause the most body dissatisfaction,
110 fitspiration photos, which is helpful in determining which types of imag es can trigger disordered eating behaviors. The impact on their body ideals, such as body comparisons, was discovered to occur on Instagram through fitspiration images. Celebrity photos, embodying the societal thin ideal, were perceived to cause the most body comparisons among her peers. Of most interesting discovery, was that most participants recognized that was not interpreted as real life. However, she did not place this confidence in her peers, whom she believes to be much more influenced by thin ideals. Participants noted that they do not follow, or care, for celebrities. According to participants, celebrities portray the societal ideal, but they are aware that this ideal is not attainable through healthy means. This awareness is incredibly encouraging, as are other findings. While the fitspiration body type is difficult to achieve, exercising and eating right are essential to a healthy body and mind. While comparisons were made with arms and legs s hown in the fitspiration photos (1 and 11), it is not completely negative to want to achieve this body type. The findings do not discourage from exercising or having fitness goals, but rather encourage having fitness goals appropriate for body type, such a s wanting to become stronger rather than obtaining a flat stomach. Limitations There were several limitations to this study. First, this is a small sample and cannot be generalized to all college aged women. Also, this sample consisted of only women who identified as being white, leaving room in the literature for studies that observe other ethnic identities. Another potential limitation was that due to the EAT test, a score for disordered eating behaviors, the interview participants were at a perceived
111 l ow risk for disordered eating behaviors. However, the researcher was not aware of their body dissatisfaction level and future studies may want to measure this. Future Research There are several areas the researcher would like to recommend for future rese arch. One area that that deserves future development is the concept of Instagram as a representation of self and real life. This was evident through two of the following examples. First, in the photo sort, photos of friends and activities received the most positive reactions due to their perceived happiness. Also participants agreed that her Instagram account was an accurate representation of who she is in real life. However, this was contradicted when she discussed her peer s usage of Instagram and expres sed concern over her peers take Instagram too seriously because Instagram does not represent what people are like in real life. In addition, the participant herself was suspicious of the reality of the photos, noting that posing and fake laughter may have been used to stage photos, such as the photo 6 in the friend category. These contradictions prove that future studies need to be done to discover just how real Instagram is perceived. One final area for future research is discovering if these photo compar isons occur on her actual Instagram feed where she sees phot o s of people she know, rather than photos of people she does not as demonstrated in the photo sort. Throughout the interviews, comparisons, specifically when describing her body comparisons, occur red during the interview rather than the photo activity. For example, Julia stated the following during the interview:
112 I it doesn't m ake me more motivated. It makes me more bitter or jealous of certain things that are hap pening, like people going on vacation. However, Julia placed both travel photos in the positive feelings category, citing that they looked happy and were having a good time. This an example of Julia recalling feeling negative toward photos on her feed of i ndividuals participating in activities, but viewing images of strangers patriating in activities did not have a negative impact. This future study could have participants keep track of photos on her feed that caused negative feelings to discover what type of image categories cause these feelings and the type of body types they display. In addition, future researchers should be mindful that the findings pointed to an d escribed by participants as the societal ideal, but their own ideal falls within fitness and health, an important transition into the ideal body. Some other areas for research include observing behaviors and becoming immersed in how they interact and use Instagram, by perhaps sitting with the participant and closely observing how they interact and use Instagram. In addition, looking at younger age groups would also be beneficial. This age group of college women have an awareness level regarding the reality of Instagram and societal ideals that younger age groups may not have. Overall, continuing to analyze the potential impact of social media in relation to eating disorder development, particularly image based platforms such as Instagram, is essential. The mass media is no longer pushing body ideals, television commercials are replaced with social media gurus claiming the next best fitness routine or meal plan.
113 The platform they are getting this ideal is much more real, and much more personal, than ever bef ore
114 APPENDIX A PHOTO GATHERING SURVEY 1. Thank you for participating in this survey! I am a graduate student at the University of Florida in the College of Journalism and Communications. This survey is a part of my thesis that seeks to understand how colle ge aged women use Instagram. The purpose of this questionnaire is to gather Instagram photos that will be used for the second phase of the study. You will be asked a few demographic questions, followed by a prompt to upload Instagram photos from your very own feed. The goal of this questionnaire is to have a selection of real Instagram photos that will mimic a feed frequently seen by college aged females in the United States. The survey should only take 15 to 20 minutes. Before you begin this survey, please read the informed consent below. 2. Please read this consent text carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study. The purpose of this survey is to gather Instagram photos. What you w ill be asked to do in the study You will be asked to provide demographic information and upload Instagram photos from your feed. Instructions for uploading photos will be provided. Time required 10 15 minutes. Risks and benefits You have the option to provide your name and contact information. If you wish to provide the information to the researcher, your information will be kept confidential. There is a minimal risk that security of any online data may be breached. The survey host where you provided your contact informa tion (Qualtrics) uses strong encryption and other data security methods to protect your information. Only the principal investigator will have access to your information on their server. The photos you choose to upload may be used in the final version of the thesis that will be made available on the University of Florida thesis and dissertation database. There are no direct benefits to you participating in the study. Compensation There will be no compensation for participation.
115 Confidentiality Yo ur identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your name and contact information will not be used in any report. Voluntary participation Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not partic ipating. Right to withdraw from the study You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Who to contact if you have questions about the study Deaven Freed (Primary Investigator) email@example.com 610.656.5660 J. Robyn Goodman, Ph.D. (Supervisor) firstname.lastname@example.org 352.392.2704 Who to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study IRB02 OfficeBox 112250 University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 2250 Phone: 352.392.0433 a. Agree b. Di sagree 3. Thanks for agreeing to participate! The next set of questions will focus on demographic information. 4. Please indicate your gender identity: a. Male b. Female c. Transgender d. Gender nonconforming e. Other gender identity (please specify) 5. Please indicate your age: a. Under 18 b. 18 c. 19 d. 20 e. 21
116 f. 22 g. 23 h. 24 i. 25+ 6. Are you a resident of Gainesville, Florida or a student at the University of Florida? a. Yes b. No 7. What is your current class standing? a. Freshman b. Sophomore c. Junior d. Senior e. Graduate student (5) f. I am not currently enrolled g. Other 8. Once I have received several completed surveys, I will go through the images and choose a final set that will be used in the second phase of the study. I want to ensure that I have chosen photos that emulate a typical Instagram feed among college ag ed women, would you be willing to provide your contact information to assist with choosing the final images? This would be about a 20 minute commitment within the next week or so and can be done via email. a. Yes b. No 9. Please provide you r contact information below: a. First name b. Email c. Phone number 10. No problem! I invite you to continue to the next part of the questionnaire where you will be prompted to upload Instagram photos. 11. Thank you for answering those first few questions. In this next part of the questionnaire, I ask that you upload Instagram images from your feed that best match each category listed below.
117 If you are viewing Instagram through the app on your phone or tablet, I suggest that you take a screenshot of photos that are most applicable and upload the entire screenshot (no need to worry about cropping). If you are viewing Instagram on your computer, you can take a screenshot of the entire screen using the following: PC: http://www.wikihow.com/Take a S creenshot in Microsoft Windows Mac: https://support.apple.com/en us/HT201361 You can also download an app for your browser c alled Lightshot that will allow you to crop the screenshot and upload as an image to your comput er. You can download that here: https://app.prntscr.com/en/ind ex.html. There is no preferred way for you to uplo ad the image, so please use the technique you feel most comfortable with. The p hotos you choose to upload must contain an image of a person, preferably focuse d on the body. It does not need to contain a face and can be below the head. You do not need to include the caption or the comments. The photos you upload will not be redistribut ed and will only be used for academic purposes. The photos ma y be used in the final thesis. To begin uploading photos, please move on to the next question. 12. Category #1: Friends Please upload a photo from your feed that contains at least two individuals. 13. Category #2: Activity Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual (or individuals) participating in an outdoor or indoor activity such as a concert, social gathering, special event or travel. 14. Category #3: Selfie Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual taking a self portrait. This will contain one person. 15. Category #4: Fitspiration Please upload a photo from your feed that shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle.
118 APPENDIX B FINAL PHOTOS FOR PHOTO REVIEW SURVEY Categor y Name Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Friends Activity Fit spiration
119 APPENDIX C PHOTO REVIEW SURVEY 1. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
120 2. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
121 3. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where act ivities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
122 4. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
123 5. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly a gree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
124 6. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
125 7. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
126 8. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
127 9. On a scale of 1 7, please rate how much you agree with each of the following statements about this image. 1: Strongly agree 2 3 4 5 6 7: Strongly disagree This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel.
128 10. Please upload an additional selfie image. This picture must be of the entire body. It does not need to include a face. You can upload it here or email to email@example.com 11. Please select the top three photos that are t he best examples of the following description: This picture shows an individual participating in outdoor and indoor activities or at a place where activities happen, such as a concert, landmark or engaging in travel. You may leave all of the other images b lank with no ranking or select "not in top three". 1 2 3 Not in top three Image:Activity 6 Image:Fitspiration 4 Image:Friends 1 Image:Picture 1 Image:Picture 4 Image:Activity 7 Image:Friends 3 Image:Picture 5 Image:Friends 2 12. Please select the top three photos that are the best examples of the following description: This picture shows an individual engaged in exercise, dressed in exercise gear, or participating in a healthy lifestyle. You may leave all of the other images blank with no ranking or select "not in top three". 1 2 3 Not in top three Image:Activity 6 Image:Fitspiration 4 Image:Friends 1 Image:Picture 1 Image:Picture 4 Image:Activity 7 Image:Friends 3 Image:Picture 5 Image:Friends 2
129 13. Please select the top three photos that are the best examples of the following description: This picture shows least two individuals and the individuals in your opinion are friends. You may leave all of the other images blank with no ranking or select "not in top three". 1 2 3 Not in top three Image:Activity 6 Image:Fitspiration 4 Image:Friends 1 Image:Picture 1 Image:Picture 4 Image:Activity 7 Image:Friends 3 Image:Picture 5 Image:Friends 2
130 APPENDIX D FINAL PHOTOS FOR PHOTOSORT Category Name Photo 1 Photo 2 Friends Activity Selfie
13 1 Fitspiration Thinspiration Celebrity
132 APPENDIX E SCREENING SURVEY 1. Thank you for participating in this survey! I am a graduate student at the University of Florida in the College of Journalism and Communications. The goal of this survey is to gather information regarding Instagram usage and eating habits among college aged women. The results of this survey will contribute to a thesis for completion of a Master's in Advertising. To begin, you will be asked several demographic questions followed by questions related to your eating habits. These quest ions will be followed by an inquiry into your usage of Instagram. Your answers and personal information will remain confidential. Upon completion of the survey, you may be invited to participate in the second phase of this study, which will be an ind ividual interview discussing social media. The overall goal of this study is to gain insight into how college aged women use Instagram. The survey should take 25 30 minutes. Before you begin this survey, please read the informed consent below. Thank you again for your participation! 2. Please read this consent text carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study The goal of t his survey is to gather information regarding Instagram usage and eating habits among college aged women. What you will be asked to do in the study T his survey will ask you about your eating habits, Instagram usage and demographic information. At th e end of the survey, you may be asked to provide contact information for an individual interview. Time required This will require 25 30 minutes. Risks and benefits This survey involves questions regarding your eating habits which may cause pe rsonal discomfort. You may exit out of the survey at any time without consequence. Your name and contact information will be used by the principal investigator to contact you if you choose to participate in an individual interview. There is a
133 minimal ri sk that security of any online data may be breached. The survey host where you provided your contact information (Qualtrics) uses strong encryption and other data security methods to protect your information. Only the investigator will have access to your information on their server. There are no direct benefits to you participating in the study. Compensation If you agree to participate in an individual interview, you will be given a $20 Amazon gift card. Confidentiality Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your results will only be known to the primary investigator and kept confidential. Voluntary participation Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Who to contact if you have questions about the study Deaven Freed (Principal Investigator) firstname.lastname@example.org 610.656.5660 J. Robyn Goodman, PhD (Supervisor) email@example.com 352.392.2704 Who to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study IRB02 Office Box 112250 University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 2250 352.392.0433 b. Agree c. Disagree 3. Thanks for agreeing to participate! The next set of questions will focus on demographic information. 4. Please indicate your gender identity: a. Male b. Female
134 c. Transgender d. Gender nonconforming e. Other gender identity (please specify) ____________________ 5. Please indicate your age: a. Under 18 b. 18 c. 19 d. 20 e. 21 f. 22 g. 23 h. 24 i. 25+ 6. Are you currently an undergraduate student at the University of Florida? a. Yes b. No 7. Please indicate your class level: a. Freshman b. Sophomore c. Junior d. Senior e. Graduate student f. Other ____________________ 8. Have you lived in the United States for at least 17 years? a. Yes b. No 9. Choose one or more ethnicity that you consider yourself to be: a. American Indian or Alaska Native b. Asian c. Black or African American d. Hispanic or Latino e. Nativ e Hawaiian or Pacific Islander f. White g. Other ____________________ 10. Thank you for sharing your demographic information. The survey will now ask you about your eating habits. 11. I am terrified about being overweight. a. Always
135 b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 12. I avoid eating when I am hungry. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 13. I find myself preoccupied with food. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 14. I have gone on binges where I feel I may not be able to stop. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Someti mes e. Rarely f. Never 15. I cut my food into small pieces. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 16. I am aware of the calorie content of foods that I eat. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never
136 17. I particularly avoid food with a high carbohydrate content (i.e., bread, rice, potatoes, etc.) a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 18. I feel others would prefer if I ate more. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 19. I vomit after I have eaten. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 20. I feel extremely guilty after eating. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 21. I am occupied with a desire to be thinner. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 22. I think about burning up calories when I exercise. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes
137 e. Rarely f. Never 23. Other people think that I am too thin. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 24. I am preoccupied with the thought of having fat on my body. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 25. I take longer than others to eat my meals. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 26. I avoid foods with sugar in them. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 27. I eat diet foods. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 28. I feel that food controls my life. a. Always b. Usually
138 c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 29. I display self control around food. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 30. I feel that others pressure me to eat. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 31. I give too much time and thought to food. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 32. I feel uncomfortable after eating sweets. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 33. I engage in dieting behavior. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 34. I like my stomach to be empty. a. Always
139 b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 35. I have the impulse to vomit after meals. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 36. I enjoy trying new rich foods. a. Always b. Usually c. Often d. Sometimes e. Rarely f. Never 37. Thank you for your participation. Please continue to the next set of questions regarding your Instagram usage. 38. About how many total Instagram followers do you have? a. 20 or less b. 21 50 c. 51 100 d. 101 150 e. 151 200 f. 201 250 g. 251 300 h. 301 400 i. 400+ 39. About how many total Instagram users do you follow? a. 20 or less b. 21 50 c. 51 100 d. 101 150 e. 151 200 f. 201 250 g. 251 300 h. 301 400
140 i. 400+ 40. Instagram is part of my everyday activities. a. Strongly agree b. Agree c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree 41. How often do you post on Instagram? a. Several times a day b. About once a day c. Several times a week d. A few times a month e. Once a month or less f. Less often g. Never 42. How often do you scroll through your Instagram feed (not including posting)? a. Several times a day b. About once a day c. Several times a week d. A few times a month e. Once a month or less f. Less often g. Never 43. How often do you comment on a photo on Instagram? a. Several times a day b. About once a day c. Several times a week d. A few times a month e. Once a month or less f. Less often g. Never 44. How often do you like a photo on Instagram? a. Several times a day b. About once a day c. Several times a week d. A few times a month e. Once a month or less f. Less often g. Never
141 45. I am not embarrassed to tell people I am on Instagram. a. Strongly agree b. Agr ee c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree 46. Instagram has become a part of my daily routine. a. Strongly agree b. Agree c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree 47. I feel out of touch when I haven't logged onto Instagram for awhile. a. Strongly agree b. Agree c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree 48. I feel I am a part of the Instagram community. a. Strongly agree b. Agree c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree 49. I would be sorry if Instagram shut down. a. Strongly agree b. Agree c. Somewhat agree d. Neither agree nor disagree e. Somewhat disagree f. Disagree g. Strongly disagree
142 50. Thank you for answering those questions! You have met the criteria for an individual interview. If you are interested in participating, please provide the following information so we may contact you. You will be given a $20 Amazon gift card as compensation for your participation in the individual interview. Your name and contact information will be kept confidential by the researcher. a. First name b. UFL email address c. Phone number
143 APPENDIX F INTERVIEW INFORMED CONSENT Informed Consent: Negotiating Instagram Images Among College Aged Women Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study The purpose of this study is to examine perspectives of Instagram images and how these image s can affect body dissatisfaction among female University of Florida students ages 18 24. What you will be asked to do in the study Once you have completed the sampling survey and match the desired criteria, you will be asked to participate in an individual interview. This individual interview will include questions regarding your social media use, your perception of societal body ideals and a photo sort activity. Time required An hour and a half to two hours to com plete the individual interview. Risks and Benefits This study involves potential distress for participants who may suffer from eating disorders or body image issues. and you can withdraw from participa ting in the interview at any time without consequence. Your name and contact information has been provided to the principal investigator (Deaven Freed) and co investigator (J. Robyn Goodman, PhD). Direct quotes from the interview will be used in the final thesis, which utilize an alias rather than your given name. Your contact information and any identifying characteristics will be kept confidential by the investigators. There is a minimal risk that security of any online data may be breached, but our surve y host where you provided your contact information (Qualtrics) uses strong encryption and other data security methods to protect your information. Only the investigators will have access to your information on their server. There are no direct benefits to you participating in the study. Compensation You will be paid $2 0.00 compensation for participating in the individual interview. This will be made available in an Amazon gift card. Confidentiality
144 Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. During the discussion, your voice will be recorded. There will be no visual recording of your interview. A photo will be taken of your photo sort activity that is completed during the interview, but will exclude you or any identifying char acteristics. After the interview, the recording will be transcribed, where identifying information and characteristics will be removed Your real name will not be used in any report. Voluntary participation Your participation in this study is complete ly voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Who to contact if you have questions about the study Deaven Freed (Primary Investigator) firstname.lastname@example.org 610 656 5660 3425 SW 29th Terrace Apt. A103 Gainesville, FL 3208 J. Robyn Goodman, PhD ( Co Investigator) email@example.com 352 39 2 2704 2019 Weimer Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611 Who to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study IRB02 Office Box 112250 University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 2250 phone 392 0433. Agreement I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Agree to participate Date: _________________ Principal Investigator: ___________________________________ Date: ____________
145 APPENDIX G INTERVIEW GUIDE Introduction Deaven Freed and I am a graduate student within the College of Journalism and Communications. This afternoon, I am interested in your impression of images from the social media platform Instagram. I am going to begin with some general questions about your social media usage and perceptions of body image. We will then move to a photo activity where you will sort real Instagram images into categories I will give you specific instructions when we get to that phase. The final phase of the interview will be discussing the photo sort activity. My main goal for this interview is to gain insight into how Instagram images are interpreted by young women. Th e interview will last approximately one hour. This interview will be used for academic purposes only and will not be shared within anyone except the instructor. I will address you by your name during the interview, unless you wish otherwise. I will be usin g a recorder on my phone to record the interview, no video will be used. I will take a picture of the photo sort once it is completed as well. If you feel uncomfortable answering any questions, you have the right to not answer. You also have the right to l eave at any time during this interview. Please feel free to ask me any clarifying questions during the Again, I welcome and encourage your opinions. My role this afternoon is to listen and interpret your a nswers as accurately as possible. At any point, I may ask secondary
146 questions to ensure I understand your statement, this may include asking you to give me an example. Do you have any questions? Social Media Usage I am going to start by ask ing you a few questions about your social media usage and what platforms you use. Tell me about the types of social media you use. How often do you use each of these platforms? Per week? Per day? o Is it different per platform? Who do you follow on these p latforms? o Is it different per platform? What do you like about the platforms you use? What do you dislike about the platforms you use? How do you use each of the platforms? o Is it different for each? Do you think how you use social media is common for man y women your age? Perceptions of Body Standards Thank you for your insight into social media. Now, I want to dig into some perceptions of body standards. Tell me what the ideal female body looks like to you. o Tell me about specific features; is there a height or weight? Where do you think this ideal body comes from?
147 What features do you compare your own body with the most compared to this ideal body? Where do you see this ideal body? o Do you see it with celebrities? Which celebrity? o How about peers? On c ampus? If you find yourself comparing to more celebrity features, why do you think that is? If you find yourself comparing to more peer features, why do you think that is? Photo activity explanation Next, I am going to have you complete an activity. I am g oing to lay these photos out on the table in no particular order. I want you to sort the photos into a specific category relating to how the photo makes you feel. I have also provided likes and comments for the photos, place a like or comment on photos tha t you would likely like or comment on if this were your feed. Take as much time as you want and let me know when you are finished. Discussion of Photo Activity I want to talk a bit about the photos you sorted. Tell me about how you sorted these images. What about the photos causes these feelings? Why did you like or comment on the photo? Is there a particular image that affected you the most? Is there a particular image that affected you the least? How did these images make you feel about your body?
148 A re you aware of these feelings as you scroll through your own Instagram feed? How do you believe Instagram has affected beauty standards among young women? Have you found Instagram to have an impact on how you feel about your body? Conclusion Do you have any additional comments to add? Thank you so much for your time.
149 APPENDIX H PHOTO SORT RESULTS Partic i pant Name Photo Sort Results Olivia Julia
150 Samantha Chloe
151 Kellie Sarah
152 Lauren Elizabeth
153 Lynn Emma
154 APPENDIX I SUMMARY CHART OF PARTICIPANTS Participant name Instagram followers Accounts followed on Instagram Posting habits Scrolling habits Liking habits Commenting habits Olivia 400+ 400+ A few times a month Several times a week Several times a week Several times a week Julia 400+ 400+ A few times a month Several times a day Several times a day Once every few weeks Samantha 400+ 400+ Several times a week Several times a week Several times a day Several times a week Kellie 400+ 400+ A few times a month About once a day Several times a day About once a week Chloe 400+ 400+ Several times a week Several times a day Several times a day About once a day
155 Sarah 400+ 400+ Once a month or less Several times a day Several times a day Several times a week Lauren 400+ 400+ A few times a month About once a day Several times a day About once a week Elizabeth 151 200 201 400 A few times a month About once a day Several times a day About once a week Lynn 201 250 151 200 A few times a month Several times a day Several times a day About once a day Emma 400+ 400+ A few times a month Several times a week Several times a week Several times a week
156 APPENDIX J SUMMARY CHART OF FEELINGS TOWARDS INSTAGRAM IMAGES Emma Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
157 Lynn Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
159 Elizabeth Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
160 Lauren Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
161 Sarah Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
162 Kellie Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
163 Chloe Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
164 Samantha Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
166 Julia Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
167 Olivia Positive Feelings Negative Feelings Mixed Feelings No Strong Feelings
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182 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH research eating disorders and while diving into research, found the world of health communication. She divided her time between graduate assistantships and healt h 2017.