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

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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


Industrial and Systems Engineering