Ashley Brook

TikTok…Time’s Up! Investigating the Relationship Between Body Image and Decision Making

In 2021, 72% of the public used social media. While social media has provided individuals with new opportunities, it has also contributed negatively towards mental health, social comparison, and body image. While body image concerns related to social media have been extensively studied, there is a gap in the literature pertaining to how body image affects decision-making. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between social media content and its effect on body image and decision making abilities. 137 females aged 18-25 were randomly assigned to view TikToks displaying either positive or negative body image content. Following, participants were asked to complete several questionnaires over body image and satisfaction, self-esteem, and the influence of social media. Finally, participants completed two tasks assessing decision-making abilities: the Modified Card Sorting Task and the Iowa Gambling Task. Results revealed no differences in decision-making as a function of content (p>.05). However, participants who viewed positive body image content had significantly higher satisfaction with their own body image compared to those who viewed negative videos (t=-2.178, p=.016). Media influence was significantly correlated with physical appearance (r=-.367, p<.001), body image satisfaction (r=-.449, p<.001), self-esteem (r=-.225, p=.01), subjective body identification (r=-.225, p=.01), and desire for change in appearance (r=-.314, p<.001). Although short-term viewing of social media content may not impact real-world decision-making abilities, this study suggests that it impacts body image and satisfaction, desire for change in appearance, and self-esteem.

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