The Effects of Instagram Use on Body Image, Body Satisfaction and Ways of Losing Weight

– A Quantitative Study

  • Toktam Namayandeh Joorabchi
  • Mokhtar Jafari
doi: 10.17646/KOME.of.7


The present study investigates the direct effect of Instagram use on various ways of losing weight, examines the mediation effects of body satisfaction and body image, and the moderator effects of gender and marital status. A total of 520 people who both used Instagram and undertook body surgery participated in the study and filled in the online and printed versions of our questionnaire. Partial least squares regression was used to test the research hypotheses and the relationships among the variables. The results revealed that body image mediated the effect of the purpose of Instagram use on ways of losing weight; however, no mediation effect of body image and body satisfaction was found for patterns and purposes of Instagram use apart from exercise. The relationship between the purposes and pattern of Instagram usage on body satisfaction was significant. However, patterns of Instagram use had no impact on body image, while this relationship for purpose was significant. The implications of the study are discussed.


Instagram body image body satisfaction ways of losing weight Iran

How to Cite

Toktam Namayandeh, J., & Mokhtar, J. The Effects of Instagram Use on Body Image, Body Satisfaction and Ways of Losing Weight: – A Quantitative Study. KOME, 12(1).


Ahadzadeh, A. S. Sharif, S. P., & Ong, F. S. (2017). Self-Schema and Self-Discrepancy Mediate the Influence of Instagram Usage on Body Image Satisfaction among Youth. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 8–16. Online:

Alberga, A. S. Withnell, S. J., & von Ranson, K. M. (2018). Fitspiration and Thinspiration: A Comparison across Three Social Networking Sites. Journal of Eating Disorders, 6(1), 1–10. Online:

Alfonso-Fuertes, I. Alvarez-Mon, M. A., Del Hoyo, R. S., Ortega, M. A., Alvarez-Mon, M., & Molina-Ruiz, R. M. (2023). Time Spent on Instagram and Body Image, Self-esteem, and Physical Comparison among Young Adults in Spain: Observational Study. JMIR Formative Research, 7(1), e42207. Online:

Alhabash, S., & Ma, M. (2017). A Tale of Four Platforms: Motivations and Uses of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat Among College Students? Social Media+Society, 3(1), 2056305117691544. Online:

Alperstein, N. (2015). Social Comparison of Idealized Female Images and the Curation of Self on Pinterest. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 4(2). 5–27.

Boepple, L., & Thompson, J. K. (2016). A Content Analytic Comparison of Fitspiration and Thinspiration Websites. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(1), 98–101. Online:

Brandtzæg, P. B., & Heim, J. (2009). Why People Use Social Networking Sites. Online Communities and Social Computing: Third International Conference, OCSC 2009, Held as Part of HCI International 2009, San Diego, CA, USA, July 19-24, 2009. Proceedings 3. Online:

Brown, Z., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). Attractive Celebrity and Peer Images on Instagram: Effect on Women’s Mood and Body Image. Body Image, 19, 37–43. Online:

Bue, A. C. C. (2020). The Looking Glass Selfie: Instagram Use Frequency Predicts Visual Attention to High-Anxiety Body Regions in Young Women. Computers in Human Behavior, 108, 106329. Online:

Butkowski, C. P. Dixon, T. L., & Weeks, K. (2019). Body Surveillance on Instagram: Examining the Role of Selfie Feedback Investment in Young Adult Women’s Body Image Concerns. Sex Roles, 81, 385–397. Online:

Cafri, G. Yamamiya, Y., Brannick, M., & Thompson, J. K. (2005). The Influence of Sociocultural Factors on Body Image: A Meta-Analysis. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12(4), 421–433. Online:

Carrotte, E. R. Prichard, I., & Lim, M. S. C. (2017). “Fitspiration” on Social Media: A Content Analysis of Gendered Images. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(3), e95. Online:

Carter, J. J., & Vartanian, L. R. (2022). Self-Concept Clarity and Appearance-Based Social Comparison to Idealized Bodies. Body Image, 40, 124–130. Online:

Casaló, L. V. Flavián, C., & Ibáñez-Sánchez, S. (2017). Antecedents of Consumer Intention to Follow and Recommend an Instagram Account. Online Information Review, 41(7), 1046–1063. Online:

Cash, T. F. Melnyk, S. E., & Hrabosky, J. I. (2004). The Assessment of Body Image Investment: An Extensive Revision of the Appearance Schemas Inventory. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 35(3), 305–316. Online:

Cash, T. F. Santos, M. T., & Williams, E. F. (2005). Coping with Body-Image Threats and Challenges: Validation of the Body Image Coping Strategies Inventory. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 58(2), 190–199. Online:

Caso, D. Fabbricatore, R., Muti, F., & Starace, C. (2019). Female Sexualization and Objectification in the Images Posted on Instagram: The Role of Influencers. Psicologia Sociale, (3), 441–463.

Chen, J. Ishii, M., Bater, K. L., Darrach, H., Liao, D., Huynh, P. P., Reh, I. P., Nellis, J. C., Kumar, A. R., & Ishii, L. E. (2019). Association Between the Use of Social Media and Photograph Editing Applications, Self-Esteem, and Cosmetic Surgery Acceptance. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, 21(5), 361–367. Online:

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Curtis, R. G. Ryan, J. C., Edney, S. M., & Maher, C. A. (2020). Can Instagram be Used to Deliver an Evidence-Based Exercise Program for Young Women? A Process Evaluation. BMC Public Health, 20, 1–9. Online:

Dakanalis, A. Timko, A. C., Clerici, M., Riva, G., & Carrà, G. (2017). Objectified Body Consciousness (OBC) in Eating Psychopathology: Construct Validity, Reliability, and Measurement Invariance of the 24-item OBC Scale in Clinical and Nonclinical Adolescent Samples. Assessment, 24(2), 252–274. Online:

Dixon, S. (2022, July 7). Number of monthly active Instagram users from January 2013 to December 2021 (in millions). Statista. Online:

Fardouly, J., & Holland, E. (2018). Social Media is Not Real Life: The Effect of Attaching Disclaimer-Type Labels to Idealized Social Media Images on Women’s Body Image and Mood. New Media & Society, 20(11), 4311–4328. Online:

Fardouly, J. Pinkus, R. T., & Vartanian, L. R. (2017). The Impact of Appearance Comparisons Made through Social Media, Traditional Media, and in Person in Women’s Everyday Lives. Body Image, 20, 31–39. Online:

Fardouly, J., & Vartanian, L. R. (2015). Negative Comparisons about One’s Appearance Mediate the Relationship between Facebook Usage and Body Image Concerns. Body Image, 12, 82–88. Online:

Festinger, L. (1954). A Theory of Social Comparison Processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117–140. Online:

Frederick, D. A. Daniels, E. A., Bates, M. E., & Tylka, T. L. (2017). Exposure to Thin-Ideal Media Affect Most, but Not All, Women: Results from the Perceived Effects of Media Exposure Scale and Open-Ended Responses. Body Image, 23, 188–205. Online:

Gattino, S. De Piccoli, N., Fedi, A., Boza, M., & Rollero, C. (2018). A Cross-Cultural Study Of Biological, Psychological, and Social Antecedents of Self-Objectification in Italy and Romania. Sex Roles, 78, 325–337. Online: h

Gobin, K. C. McComb, S. E., & Mills, J. S. (2022). Testing a Self-Compassion Micro-Intervention Before Appearance-Based Social Media Use: Implications for Body Image. Body Image, 40, 200–206. Online:

Graff, M., & Czarnomska, O. (2019). Can Time Spent on Social Media Affect Thin-Ideal Internalisation, Objectified Body Consciousness and Exercise Motivation in Women. Psychreg Journal of Psychology, 3(3), 28–39. Online:

Grunewald, W. Calzo, J. P., Brown, T. A., Pennesi, J.-L., Jun, H.-J., Corliss, H. L., & Blashill, A. J. (2021). Appearance-Ideal Internalization, Body Dissatisfaction, and Suicidality among Sexual Minority Men. Body Image, 38, 289–294. Online:

Haferkamp, N. Eimler, S. C., Papadakis, A.-M., & Kruck, J. V. (2012). Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Examining Gender Differences in Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 91–98. Online:

Hair, J. F. Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2011). PLS-SEM: Indeed a Silver Bullet. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 19(2), 139–152. Online:

Hair, J. F. Hult, G. T. M., Ringle, C. M., Sarstedt, M., Castillo Apraiz, J., Cepeda Carrión, G., & Roldán, J. L. (2019). Manual de Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (pls-sem). OmniaScience Scholar. Online:

Hair, J. F. Astrachan, C. B., Moisescu, O. I., Radomir, L., Sarstedt, M., Vaithilingam, S., & Ringle, C. M. (2021). Executing and Interpreting Applications of PLS-SEM: Updates for Family Business Researchers. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 12(3), 100392. Online:

Hartmann, T. Klimmt, C., & Vorderer, P. (2010). Telepresence and media entertainment. In Bracken, C. C. & Skalski, P. (Eds.), Immersed in Media: Telepresence in Everyday Life. (pp. 137–157). Routledge.

Henseler, J. Ringle, C. M., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2009). The Use of Partial Least Squares Path Modeling in International Marketing. In Sinkovics, R. R. & Ghauri, P. N. (Eds.), New Challenges to International Marketing. (pp. 277–319). Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Online:

Henseler, J. Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2015). A New Criterion for Assessing Discriminant Validity in Variance-Based Structural Equation Modelling. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43, 115–135. Online:

Hogue, J. V., & Mills, J. S. (2019). The Effects of Active Social Media Engagement with Peers on Body Image in Young Women. Body Image, 28, 1–5. Online:

Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2017). “Strong Beats Skinny Every Time”: Disordered Eating and Compulsive Exercise in Women Who Post Fitspiration on Instagram. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 50(1), 76–79. Online:

Huang, R., & Ha, S. (2021). The Role of Need for Cognition in Consumers’ Mental Imagery: A Study of Retail Brand’s Instagram. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 49(2), 242–262. Online:

Huang, Y.-T., & Su, S.-F. (2018). Motives for Instagram Use and Topics of Interest among Young Adults. Future Internet, 10(8), 77. Online:

Hwang, H. S., & Cho, J. (2018). Why Instagram? Intention to Continue Instagram Use Among Korean College Students. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 46(8), 1305–1315. Online:

Jung, J. Barron, D., Lee, Y.-A., & Swami, V. (2022). Social Media Usage and Body Image: Examining the Mediating Roles of Internalization of Appearance Ideals and Social Comparisons in Young Women. Computers in Human Behavior, 135, 107357. Online:

Khanjani, Z. Pakravan, H., Ghadimi, N., & Asadi, S. (2022). The Relationship between Attitudes toward Cosmetic Surgery and Social Media Addiction based on the Mediating Role of Body Image Concern in Adolescents. Rooyesh-e-Ravanshenasi Journal (RRJ), 11(3), 35–46.

Kim, D., & Kim, S. (2023). Social Media Affordances of Ephemerality and Permanence: Social Comparison, Self-Esteem, and Body Image Concerns. Social Sciences, 12(2), 87. Online:

Kim, J. W., & Chock, T. M. (2015). Body image 2.0: Associations between Social Grooming on Facebook and Body Image Concerns. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 331–339. Online:

Kim, M. (2020). Instagram Selfie-Posting and Young Women’s Body Dissatisfaction: Investigating the Role of Self-Esteem and Need for Popularity. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 14(4). Online:

Kleemans, M. Daalmans, S., Carbaat, I., & Anschütz, D. (2018). Picture Perfect: The Direct Effect of Manipulated Instagram Photos on Body Image in Adolescent Girls. Media Psychology, 21(1), 93–110. Online:

Knobloch-Westerwick, S., & Crane, J. (2012). A Losing Battle: Effects of Prolonged Exposure to Thin-Ideal Images on Dieting and Body Satisfaction. Communication Research, 39(1), 79–102. Online:

Krasnova, H. Veltri, N. F., Eling, N., & Buxmann, P. (2017). Why Men and Women Continue to Use Social Networking Sites: The Role of Gender Differences. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 26(4), 261–284. Online:

Lee, M. (2022). Exploring How Instagram Addiction is Associated with Women’s Body Image and Drive for Thinness. The Social Science Journal, 1–14. Online:

Lee, S. Y. (2014). How Do People Compare Themselves with Others on Social Network Sites?: The Case of Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 32, 253–260. Online:

Lewis-Smith, H. Diedrichs, P. C., & Halliwell, E. (2019). Cognitive-Behavioral Roots of Body Image Therapy and Prevention. Body Image, 31, 309–320. Online:

Limniou, M., Ascroft, Y., & McLean, S. et al. (2022). Differences between Facebook and Instagram Usage in Regard to Problematic Use and Well-Being. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, 7, 141–150. Online:

López-de-Ayala, M.-C. Vizcaíno-Laorga, R., & Montes-Vozmediano, M. (2020). Hábitos y actitudes de los jóvenes ante las redes sociales: influencia del sexo, edad y clase social. Profesional de la Información, 29(6). Online:

Lunde, C. (2013). Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery, Body Appreciation, Body Ideal Internalization, and Fashion Blog Reading among Late Adolescents in Sweden. Body Image, 10(4), 632–635. Online:

Mabe, A. G. Forney, K. J., & Keel, P. K. (2014). Do You “Like” My Photo? Facebook Use Maintains Eating Disorder Risk. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47(5), 516–523. Online:

Madan, A. K. Beech, B. M., & Tichansky, D. S. (2008). Body Esteem Improves After Bariatric Surgery. Surgical Innovation, 15(1), 32–37. Online:

Mahmoud, A. B. Hack-Polay, D., Grigoriou, N., Mohr, I., & Fuxman, L. (2021). A Generational Investigation and Sentiment and Emotion Analyses of Female Fashion Brand Users on Instagram in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Brand Management, 28(5), 526–544. Online:

Manago, A. M. Ward, L. M., Lemm, K. M., Reed, L., & Seabrook, R. (2015). Facebook Involvement, Objectified Body Consciousness, Body Shame, and Sexual Assertiveness in College Women and Men. Sex Roles, 72, 1–14. Online:

Marengo, D. Longobardi, C., Fabris, M. A., & Settanni, M. (2018). Highly-Visual Social Media and Internalizing Symptoms in Adolescence: The Mediating Role of Body Image Concerns. Computers in Human Behavior, 82, 63–69. Online:

Marques, M. D., Paxton, S. J., McLean, S. A., Jarman, H. K., & Sibley, C. G. (2022). A Prospective Examination of Relationships between Social Media Use and Body Dissatisfaction in a Representative Sample of Adults. Body Image, 40, 1–11. Online:

Martel, J. Powell, E., & Murina, A. (2020). The Effect of Instagram and Photograph Editing on Seeking Dermatologic Care. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 19(10), 2732–2735. Online:

McComb, S. E. Gobin, K. C., & Mills, J. S. (2021). The Effects of Self-Disclaimer Instagram Captions on Young Women’s Mood and Body Image: The Moderating Effect of Participants’ Own Photo Manipulation Practices. Body Image, 38, 251–261. Online:

McComb, S. E., & Mills, J. S. (2021). Young Women’s Body Image Following Upwards Comparison to Instagram Models: The Role of Physical Appearance Perfectionism and Cognitive Emotion Regulation. Body Image, 38, 49–62. Online:

McComb, S. E., & Mills, J. S. (2022). The Effect of Physical Appearance Perfectionism and Social Comparison to Thin-, Slim-Thick-, and Fit-Ideal Instagram Imagery on Young Women’s Body Image. Body Image, 40, 165–175. Online:

McLean, S. A., Paxton, S. J., Wertheim, E. H., & Masters, J. (2015). Photoshopping the selfie: Self photo editing and photo investment are associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48(8), 1132–1140. Online:

Menzel, J. E. Sperry, S. L., Small, B., Thompson, J. K., Sarwer, D. B., & Cash, T. F. (2011). Internalization of Appearance Ideals and Cosmetic Surgery Attitudes: A Test of the Tripartite Influence Model of Body Image: Erratum. Sex Roles, 65, 656. Online:

Mills, J. S. Shannon, A., & Hogue, J. (2017). Beauty, Body Image, and the Media. In M. Peaslee Levine (Ed.), Perception of Beauty (pp. 145–157). IntechOpen. Online:

Moon, J. H. Lee, E., Lee, J.-A., Choi, T. R., & Sung, Y. (2016). The Role of Narcissism in Self-Promotion on Instagram. Personality and Individual Differences, 101, 22–25. Online:

Nerini, A. Matera, C., Di Gesto, C., Policardo, G. R., & Stefanile, C. (2019). Exploring the Links between Self-Compassion, Body Dissatisfaction, and Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery in Young Italian Women. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2698. Online:

Pertegal, M.-Á., Oliva, A., & Rodríguez-Meirinhos, A. (2019). Development and Validation of the Scale of Motives for Using Social Networking Sites (SMU-SNS) for Adolescents and Youths. PloS one, 14(12), e0225781. Online:

Pessoa, K. Alves Costa, C. L., Coelho, A. C., Bastos, A., & Rodrigues, I. (2023). Use of Instagram as a Resource for the Adoption of Behaviors Related to Health and Well-Being of Young College Students: Associations between Use Profile and Sociodemographic Variables—A Cross-Sectional Study. Societies, 13(2), 45. Online:

Pilgrim, K., & Bohnet-Joschko, S. (2019). Selling Health and Happiness How Influencers Communicate on Instagram about Dieting and Exercise: Mixed Methods Research. BMC Public Health, 19, 1–9. Online:

Rahman, S. A. Amran, A., Ahmad, N. H., & Taghizadeh, S. K. (2015). Supporting Entrepreneurial Business Success at the Base of Pyramid through Entrepreneurial Competencies. Management Decision, 53(6), 1203–1223. Online:

Ridgway, J. L., & Clayton, R. B. (2016). Instagram Unfiltered: Exploring Associations of Body Image Satisfaction, Instagram# Selfie Posting, and Negative Romantic Relationship Outcomes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19(1), 2–7. Online:

Rigdon, E. E. (2016). Choosing PLS Path Modeling as Analytical Method in European Management Research: A Realist Perspective. European Management Journal, 34(6), 598–605. Online:

Sarstedt, M., Ringle, C. M., Cheah, J.-H., Ting, H., Moisescu, O. I., & Radomir, L. (2020). Structural Model Robustness Checks in PLS-SEM. Tourism Economics, 26(4), 531–554. Online:

Schettino, G. Capasso, M., & Caso, D. (2023). The Dark Side of# Bodypositivity: The Relationships between Sexualized Body-Positive Selfies on Instagram and Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery among Women. Computers in Human Behavior, 140, 107586. Online:

Sharp, G., & Gerrard, Y. (2022). The Body Image “Problem” on Social Media: Novel Directions for the Field. Body Image, 41, 267–271. Online:

Sheldon, P., & Bryant, K. (2016). Instagram: Motives for Its Use and Relationship to Narcissism and Contextual Age. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 89–97. Online:

Stapleton, P. Luiz, G., & Chatwin, al. (2017). Generation Validation: The Role of Social Comparison in Use of Instagram among Emerging Adults. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(3), 142–149. Online:

Streukens, S., & Leroi-Werelds, S. (2016). Bootstrapping and PLS-SEM: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get More Out of Your Bootstrap Results. European Management Journal, 34(6), 618–632. Online:

Sultan, S. N. (2023). Effect of Social Media Use on Body Image among Adolescents University of Baghdad.

Tamannaei, F., & Nejat, P. (2023). Effect of Viewing Female Instagram Influencers’ Selfies on Women’s Attitudes and Tendency Toward Cosmetic Surgery as Mediated by Facial Dissatisfaction. Applied Psychology, 17(3), 143–168. Online:

Tarsitano, M. Pujia, R., Ferro, Y., Mocini, E., Proni, G., Lenzi, F., Pujia, A., & Giannetta, E. (2022). Symptoms of Orthorexia Nervosa are Associated with Time Spent on Social Media: A Web-Based Survey in an Italian Population Sample. European Revue of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 26(24), 9327–9335. Online:

Tiggemann, M. Anderberg, I., & Brown, Z. (2020). # Loveyourbody: The Effect of Body Positive Instagram Captions on Women’s Body Image. Body Image, 33, 129–136. Online:

Tiggemann, M., & Zaccardo, M. (2015). “Exercise to be Fit, Not Skinny”: The Effect of Fitspiration Imagery on Women’s Body Image. Body Image, 15, 61–67. Online:

Van den Berg, P. Paxton, S. J., Keery, H., Wall, M., Guo, J., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2007). Body Dissatisfaction and Body Comparison with Media Images in Males and Females. Body Image, 4(3), 257–268. Online:

Verduyn, P. Gugushvili, N., Massar, K., Täht, K., & Kross, E. (2020). Social Comparison on Social Networking Sites. Current Opinion in Psychology, 36, 32–37. Online:

Voelker, D. K. Reel, J. J., & Greenleaf, C. (2015). Weight Status and Body Image Perceptions in Adolescents: Current Perspectives. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, (6), 149–158. Online:

Walker, C. E. Krumhuber, E. G., Dayan, S., & Furnham, A. (2021). Effects of Social Media Use on Desire for Cosmetic Surgery among Young Women. Current Psychology, 40, 3355–3364. Online:

Wood-Barcalow, N. L. Tylka, T. L., & Augustus-Horvath, C. L. (2010). “But I Like my Body”: Positive Body Image Characteristics and a Holistic Model for Young-Adult Women. Body Image, 7(2), 106–116. Online:

Zigma8. (2022, July 30). Social Media Marketing and Advertising in Iran: Time, Money and Reports. Online: