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The impact of Snapchat usage on drunkorexia behaviors in college women

Snapchat is one of the many platforms of social media increasing in popularity today. Previous research has shown that this “image-based platform” can have an influence on disorder eating behaviors (DEBs). Drunkorexia is the idea of restricting food intake to avoid gaining weight through alcohol beverages. The current study looks at the association between college women use of Snapchat and drunkorexia behaviors.

The first part of this study included 109 women who were approximately 19 years of age. Snapchat usage (SU) was assessed by asking participants how many times a day they go on Snapchat. Compensatory eating and drinking behavior frequency (CEBF) were assessed by asking “How often do you engage in compensatory behaviors such as fasting, vomiting, or use of laxatives?” Physical appearance comparison and eating disorder inventory were also measures assessed. The second part of the study included 527 women who were approximately 19 years of age. Measures for this part of the study were similar including SU, Compensatory eating and behaviors in response to alcohol consumption, social media physical appearance comparisons, and eating disorder inventory.

The first study showed higher Snapchat usage was associated with higher body comparison levels. This led to higher drive for thinness and higher compensatory behaviors. Results show Snapchat could be impacting drunkorexia behaviors by impacting physical appearance comparisons. The second study found that effects of Snapchat on drinking were not due to any physical appearance comparisons, but more so on social media itself. They also found these effects are exclusive to Snapchat and are not due to people making body comparisons. Overall, findings support that college women may be at an increased risk for drunkorexia if they frequent social media, especially Snapchat.

Take Away: The current study looks at the association between college women use of Snapchat and drunkorexia behaviors. The study had two parts with both recruiting women 19 years of age. Measures included Snapchat usage, compensatory eating and drinking behavior frequency, physical appearance comparison, eating disorder inventory and compensatory eating and behaviors in response to alcohol consumption. The first study showed higher Snapchat usage was found to be associated with higher body comparison levels. These findings show that Snapchat could very well be impacting drunkorexia behaviors by impacting physical appearance comparisons. The second study found effects of Snapchat on drinking were not due to any physical appearance comparisons, but more so on social media itself. Overall, findings support that college women may be at an increased risk for drunkorexia if they frequent social media, especially Snapchat.

Foster, S., O’Mealey, M., Farmer, C., & Carvallo, M. (2020). The impact of snapchat usage on drunkorexia behaviors in college women. Journal of American College Health, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2020.1775609

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