How online self-presentation affects well-being and body image: A systematic review

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Sophistication of media technologies offers increasing possibilities for selective self-presentation online. However, how self-presentation affects well-being and body image is unclear. This systematic review aimed to map to what extent and under which circumstances types of self-presentation, versus lurking, support or hamper individuals’ well-being and body image. Seven scientific databases were searched, comprising 55 relevant studies in 52 publications out of 975 publications. Results were mixed: Both self-presentation and lurking can enhance or diminish well-being and body image. Self-presentation, lurking, and well-being were categorized to systematically clarify results, and vital mechanisms were determined to explain differences within and between self-presentation and lurking. For example, lurking at others generally decreased well-being, whereas authentic self-presentation increased well-being. Moreover, the studies’ examined outcomes differed among studies’ culture-of-origin. Finally, results showed the importance of peers in examining effects of self-presentation. Future research should delineate self-presentation types, report on cultural variability, and include peer influence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101316
Number of pages20
JournalTelematics and Informatics
Issue numberApril
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Body image
  • Cultural variability
  • Lurking
  • Online self-presentation
  • Peer influence
  • Well-being

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