Jenna Walters

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Chong Man Chow, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rusty McIntyre, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Natalie Dove, Ph.D.


Social relationships are important for the vast majority of people, especially adolescents. Social media has become increasingly common in people under the age of 30 and has been associated with body dissatisfaction and stress; furthermore, insecure attachment styles have also been associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescents. Using the survey results from 104 adolescent girls from a Midwestern metropolitan area, this study examined how attachment style potentially moderates the relationship between three social media variables (frequency of use, emotional investment in social media, and pressure felt from media) and body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. Controlling for age and body mass index percentile, attachment anxiety (b = .16, SE = .06, p = .01) and media pressure (b = .45, SE = .09, p < .001) were found to be significant predictors of body dissatisfaction in a hierarchical regression model. Despite this, no significant moderation effects were found. This suggests that while attachment insecurity may potentially exacerbate effects of social media use, secure attachment may not be able to mitigate them. Similarly, time spent on social media alone may not engender body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls, but rather what messages they are exposed to during their usage may have a greater impact. These are both important for those working closely with adolescents to consider when trying to help prevent body dissatisfaction in this population.

Included in

Psychology Commons