A content analysis of thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration imagery on social media

Talbot, Catherine, Gavin, Jeffrey, van Steen, Tommy and Morey, Yvette (2017) A content analysis of thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration imagery on social media. Journal of Eating Disorders, 5 (1). p. 40. ISSN 2050-2974

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On social media, images such as thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration, are shared to inspire certain body ideals. Previous research has demonstrated that exposure to these groups of content is associated with increased body dissatisfaction and decreased self-esteem. It is therefore important that the bodies featured within these groups of content are more fully understood so that effective interventions and preventative measures can be informed, developed, and implemented.

A content analysis was conducted on a sample of body-focussed images with the hashtags thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration from three social media platforms.

The analyses showed that thinspiration and bonespiration content contained more thin and objectified bodies, compared to fitspiration which featured a greater prevalence of muscles and muscular bodies. In addition, bonespiration content contained more bone protrusions and fewer muscles than thinspiration content.

The findings suggest fitspiration may be a less unhealthy type of content; however, a subgroup of imagery was identified which idealised the extremely thin body type and as such this content should also be approached with caution. Future research should utilise qualitative methods to further develop understandings of the body ideals that are constructed within these groups of content and the motivations behind posting this content.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Thinspiration, Fitspiration, Bonespiration, Social media, Body image, Content analysis
Subjects: B400 Nutrition
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2019 09:39
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 10:20
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/40828

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