A Content Analysis of Thinspiration, Fitspiration, and Bonespiration Imagery on Social Media

Catherine Talbot, Gavin Jeffrey, Tommy van Steen, Yvette Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
On social media, images such as thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration, are shared to inspire certain body ideals. Previous research has demonstrated that exposure to these groups of content is associated with increased body dissatisfaction and decreased self-esteem. It is therefore important that the bodies featured within these groups of content are more fully understood so that effective interventions and preventative measures can be informed, developed, and implemented.

Method
A content analysis was conducted on a sample of body-focussed images with the hashtags thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration from three social media platforms.

Results
The analyses showed that thinspiration and bonespiration content contained more thin and objectified bodies, compared to fitspiration which featured a greater prevalence of muscles and muscular bodies. In addition, bonespiration content contained more bone protrusions and fewer muscles than thinspiration content.

Conclusions
The findings suggest fitspiration may be a less unhealthy type of content; however, a subgroup of imagery was identified which idealised the extremely thin body type and as such this content should also be approached with caution. Future research should utilise qualitative methods to further develop understandings of the body ideals that are constructed within these groups of content and the motivations behind posting this content.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Volume5
Issue number40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

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