The role of body image in the relationship between internet use and bulimic symptoms: Three theoretical frameworks Academic Article uri icon


  • Exposure to traditional media has been associated with bulimic symptoms. However, to date, little is known regarding the effects of Internet exposure. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between Internet use and bulimic symptoms within the competing frameworks of sociocultural, impression management, and self-objectification theory. A sample of 289 French women aged 18-25 years completed an online questionnaire assessing bulimic symptoms, body dissatisfaction, body image avoidance, self-surveillance, body shame, and weekly Internet use. Bootstrapping analyses revealed that body shame and body image avoidance mediated the effect of weekly Internet use on bulimic symptoms. Furthermore, when entered into a multiple mediation analysis, these two variables provided independent mediation pathways of equal magnitude. The findings support the usefulness of both the self-objectification and impression management frameworks for investigating the relationship between Internet use and bulimic symptoms. Longitudinal research would help to clarify these pathways further.

publication date

  • 2015