Exploring the perceived influence of social media use on disordered eating in nutrition and dietetics students
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractBackground: Social media use (SMU) is increasingly widespread. More recently, SMU has been associated with increases in disordered eating; however, few qualitative studies have explored this issue in nutrition and dietetics students specifically, where susceptibility to disordered eating may be particularly high. The present study therefore aimed to investigate the perceived impact of SMU on disordered eating in nutrition and dietetics students. Methods: One‐to‐one, in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews were conducted with nutrition and dietetics students from universities across the UK. Interviews explored students’ views on the potential influence of SMU on their eating‐related thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Data were thematically analysed to identify key themes. Results: The findings suggested that SMU may provide students with a useful tool for the exploration of new recipes, ingredients and health‐related information, thus enabling them to improve their eating behaviour and diet quality. However, students also showed high levels of objective awareness regarding the problems associated with SMU, including the presence of misinformation, body image dissatisfaction, social pressures and disordered eating. Interestingly, despite enabling them to detect sources of misinformation, students also discussed the negative impact that their course had on their eating habits, suggesting course content may be an additional risk factor for the development of disordered eating for this particular group. Conclusions: Future research should investigate ways to mitigate the negative impact of SMU and course content on disordered eating in nutrition and dietetics students.
CitationLaw, R., & Jevons, E. F. P. (2023). Exploring the perceived influence of social media use on disordered eating in nutrition and dietetics students. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 36(5), 2050-2059. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.13212
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