Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

Let’s Talk About … Social Media With Nicole Hawkins, PhD, CEDS-S

Recently in Body Image group we finished our discussion on social media. In group we discussed a study by Meler and Gray, where college women were divided into 2 groups. One group researched the Ocelot, a rainforest cat. The other group of college women spent just 20 minutes on social media. The average college woman spends 90 minutes a day on social media. The women on social media for just 20 minutes experienced greater body dissatisfaction than those that looked at the cute cat pictures. Recent research at UT Dallas found that “lurking” behavior on social media may be the most dangerous for our mental health. Lurking is when you go through photos and posts of friends on their social media pages. Lurking can lead to social comparison which can precipitate the “fear of missing out.” This social comparison and our fear of missing out, is linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms.

3 Tips for social media use:

  1. Evaluate your social media use and ask yourself, “Does it bring me joy?”
  2. Take an inventory of how much time you are spending on social media. Set some time limits for social media.
  3. Set healthy boundaries with your technology. Make your social media space a safe place that inspires you and builds you up, and is not negatively impacting your mental health!

Dr. Hawkins is a clinical psychologist and is the Chief Executive Officer at Center for Change.  She is a specialist in eating disorders and body image and has provided clinical expertise at Center for Change since 1999. Dr. Hawkins developed a comprehensive body image program that focuses on the media, diet industry, plastic surgery, childhood issues, and learning to appreciate one’s body, and she leads these groups for the Inpatient and Residential patients at Center for Change.  She is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (Supervisor), has published several articles, and presents regularly at national and regional conferences.

Center for Change is a place of hope and healing that is committed to helping those suffering from eating disorders break free and fully recover.  The Center offers intensive treatment for eating disorders and co-occurring issues, including a specialty program for co-occurring diabetes (ED-DMT1), and provides a full continuum of care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient services. Located in Orem Utah, Cottonwood Heights (Salt Lake City) Utah, and Boise Idaho, serving females in Inpatient and Residential, and all genders in PHP, IOP, and Outpatient.  Accredited by The Joint Commission, AdvancED, and TRICARE® certified.