Date Approved

9-12-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

FitzGerald, Suzanne

Subject(s)

Eating disorders in adolescence;Social media

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

The use of thinspiration and social networking by girls with eating disorders on social media websites and through user-generated content aids the disease in general. The purpose of this research exploration is to find out how influential these specific forms of new media are on girls with eating disorders. A content analysis will serve as the primary quantitative measure for this study. A survey, via SurveyMonkey.com, will be used to find what kind of impact new media has on girls with eating disorders. The researcher will also conduct a personal interview with an expert in the field of psychology and eating disorders. Thinspiration and eating disorder communities on social media websites are a harmful thing to girls. Although they may not encourage the development of eating disorders, they certainly aid the disorders in general. They provide unhealthy support, tips and motivation to girls to continue with their disordered eating behaviors. The research shows that these girls feel worse about themselves when they view thinspiration. This type of material makes them want to harm their bodies even more than they already are in hopes of becoming thinner and thinner. By linking together with other girls in the communities, these girls receive an unhealthy type of support. They help each other to fall deeper into their disorders.

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