New research revealed a consistent and direct link between posting edited photos on Instagram and risk factors for eating disorders. Specifically, digitally editing pictures to improve personal appearance before posting photos to Instagram increased weight and shape concerns in college students.
The study, which is published in the International Journal Eating Disorders, also found that posting photos (edited or unedited) contributed to greater anxiety and reinforced urges to restrict food intake and exercise compared with not posting photos.
"As more people turn to social media to stay connected, it's critically important to let others see you as you are. Compared with edited photos, we saw no decrease in the number of likes or comments for unedited photos on Instagram; knowing this could reduce harmful pressures to change how you look," said co-author Pamela K. Keel, PhD, of Florida State University.