The effect of viewing challenging “reality check” Instagram comments on women's body image

Marika Tiggemann, Vasiliki Georgia Velissaris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
169 Downloads (Pure)


One increasing trend on social media is the posting of challenging or “reality check” comments about idealized photos of thin and attractive women. The aim of the present study was to experimentally investigate the effect of viewing such reality check comments after a positive appearance comment on young women's body image. Participants were 192 women aged 17–25 years who were randomly assigned to view Instagram images accompanied by no comment, a positive appearance comment, or a reality check comment plus the positive appearance comment. In contrast to prediction, viewing positive appearance comments did not elicit more body dissatisfaction than viewing images with no comments. As predicted, however, adding a reality check comment did reduce body dissatisfaction relative to the positive appearance comment alone. It was concluded that making and viewing reality check comments provides a potential way for women to mitigate some of the negative effect of Instagram imagery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Body image
  • Comments
  • Instagram
  • Reality check
  • Social media


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