“Obsessed with retouching your selfies? Check your mindset!”: Female Instagram users with a fixed mindset are at greater risk of disordered eating

Publication Date


Document Type



Industrial and Systems Engineering

Publication Title

Personality and Individual Differences






Recent research has indicated that the frequency of retouching self-photos prior to sharing on social platforms is associated with disordered eating patterns, which can be a precursor to clinical eating disorders specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). We tested a conditional process model of the relationship between Instagram-based self-photo modification and disordered eating, with rumination as a mediator and mindset as a moderator. A cross-sectional online survey with U.S. female Instagram users showed that self-photo modification had a positive association with rumination about eating, weight, and shape, which in turn had a positive association with disordered eating. The data also revealed that the mediation was significant among those with moderate-to-high levels of fixed mindset. This study offers initial empirical evidence that rumination may constitute a mechanism underlying the relationship between self-photo modification on Instagram and disordered eating, and that female Instagram users with more of a fixed mindset may be at greater risk. These findings call for attention to how seemingly innocuous technological features may pose a significant threat to the wellness of at-risk individuals. Future research should continue to address possible mechanisms and individual differences that explicate the relationship between self-presentational behaviors on image-centric social platforms and disordered eating.


Disordered eating, Instagram, Mindset, Objective self-awareness, Rumination, Self-photo modification, Self-presentation, Social media