Using a concave critical lens

Moving towards an understanding of the non-linear relationship between social media literacy and body image


  • Rachel Rodgers Northeastern University
  • Jenna Campagna
  • Siân McLean
  • Susan Paxton


social media literacy, body image, positive embodiment


Inconsistent findings regarding the relationships among social media literacy and body image may be due to unmet assumptions of linearity. This study examined the different profiles of active social media literacy and their association with positive embodiment and indices of body image concerns. Young women (n = 975) completed an online survey assessing dimensions of social media literacy (commercial and celebrity social media literacy, social media appearance comparison frequency, and selfie-investment), positive embodiment, and dimensions of body image concerns. Findings revealed seven social media literacy profiles associated with different levels of positive embodiment and body image concerns. Interestingly, and counter to linear expectations, a cluster with low levels of social media literacy but high levels of positive embodiment and lower body image concerns emerged. The relationships among social media literacy and body image appear to not be linear, which increases understandings of processes underlying the effects of social media use.


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