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July 2022

Body image and women's wellbeing

Body image and women’s wellbeing
In partnership with

The quick read

Understanding the impact of Instagram on how women feel about their bodies is important for understanding how body image affects physical and mental health. It can also help us better inform future interventions.

Previous research, summarised here, suggests that messages on social media can be used to communicate positively about health. But the impact of such messages on users is not always clear.

Our findings show that:

  • there is a link between how women feel about their bodies and how satisfied they feel with their lives as a whole;
  • exposure to images promoting unrealistic body ideals correlates with reduced life satisfaction in female Instagram users;
  • viewing any form of message or distractor image may help to prevent this reduction in wellbeing;
  • we need to gain a deeper understanding about online interventions and whether targeting body image can positively impact broader wellbeing.


Close The quick read


Body image and wellbeing

What we did

Measures and analysis

What did we find?

Research implications

Recommendations for action


Suggested citation


You may also wish to read the blog article on this document.

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