HealthDay News — Time spent on social media sites has negative effects on female body perceptions, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society, held from May 2 to 4 in Nottingham, U.K.

Martin Graff, Ph.D., and Oktawia Czarnomska, from the University of South Wales in Pontypridd, examined the correlation between time spent on social media and body image among 100 female students at a U.K. university (mean age, 22.04 years). Participants completed a measure of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest use, and were categorized into four groups based on self-reported exposure. Participants also completed measures of thin-ideal internalization, exercise motivation, and objectified body consciousness.

The researchers found that time spent on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest correlated with higher scores on thin-ideal internalization, objectified body consciousness, and motivation to exercise. The correlations were stronger if the time spent on social media each day exceeded one hour.

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“We were able to show that spending more time each day on those social networking sites that are often used to post images of oneself, and for comparison with others, is linked to having an unhealthy relationship both with body image and potentially exercise as well,” Graff said in a statement. “Our findings may be important for those who are working with females who have body image concerns, as social media use may play a central role in it.”

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