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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Morris, Teresa


The objective of this study was to examine the impact social media has on the development of an eating disorder in an individual. Social media is a big influence in the social norms in a culture. In Western societies, in relation to all genders, the media is filled with the thin body appearance, dieting, and fitness. The rationale behind the study is to bring awareness to society in hopes of making changes of what is shown and idealized on the media. The study used the post-paradigm method to conduct research. Qualitative data was gathered in face-to-face interviews from members of an eating disorder recovery support group. The “bottoms-up” approach was utilized to analyze the data collected in the research project. The data collection found 10 open codes that where then placed into themes. The themes found a correlation between eating disorders and the media. The results of the study indicated themes of negative internal factors, negative external factors, and positive internal factors; these findings show a correlation between social media and eating disorder. Social workers working with individuals with eating disorders can use this research study to analyze potential treatment methods to help in their effectiveness of practice; in providing a more in-depths understanding of the population they are assisting. A social worker can explore their client’s involvement with social media and how these influences have played a part in their belief systems and eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.