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

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Abstract

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
Volume47
Issue numberApril
Early online date22 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

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

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