A Meta-Analysis Examining the Influence of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites on Body Image and Eating Pathology Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Previous research has indicated that exposure to pro-eating disorder websites might increase eating pathology; however, the magnitude of this effect is unknown. This study aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effect of exposure to pro-eating disorder websites on body image and eating pathology. Studies examining the relationship between exposure to pro-eating disorder websites and eating pathology-related outcomes were included. The systematic review identified nine studies. Findings revealed significant effect sizes of exposure to pro-eating disorder websites on body image dissatisfaction (five studies), d = .41, p = .003; dieting (six studies), d = .68, p < .001, and negative affect (three studies), d = 1.00, p < .001. No effect emerged for bulimic symptoms (four studies), d = .22, p = .73. Findings confirmed the effect of pro-eating disorder websites on body image and eating pathology, highlighting the need for enforceable regulation of these websites.

publication date

  • 2016