Excessive preoccupation with editing selfies on social networking sites, like Instagram, could weigh down one’s mood and affect body satisfaction, according to new research published in the journal Body Image.
For the study, 130 female participants in early adulthood, aged between 18 to 30, were asked to view images of average-sized women on the social networking site Instagram. They were then tasked with analyzing their own selfie-taking behavior.
During the study, the participants took nearly four and a half minutes editing up to five self-portraits, making several modifications to enhance the image and removing any perceived flaws.
The preoccupation with making such modifications, researchers say, could have consequences for users, as it was shown to negatively impact body satisfaction, with the more time spent on a selfie task.
“Many women and girls spend considerable time and effort in taking and selecting their selfies, for example, finding the best lighting and most flattering angle, which can then be further enhanced by filters or digital editing to maximise their appearance and appeal,” said Marika Tiggemann, a professor at Flinders University and co-author of the study.
“We found an increase in dissatisfaction following the selfie task was a based on the extent of editing being undertaken. This demonstrates that the editing of selfies is not a benign process but has negative consequences, even though participants reported being much happier with their edited selfie than their original photo,” Tiggemann explained.
As inferred by researchers, refraining from an excessive preoccupation with editing selfies on social media may reduce the risk of poor mood and body image among young women.
Zoe Brown and Isabella Anderberg, both Australian-based researchers at Flinders University, also contributed to the study.