This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Impact of Criticism and Social Media on College Females’ Mental Health




Ausmus, J.C.

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Research has shown that utilizing social media sites and receiving weight-teasing or critical comments about one’s body appearance can lead to depression, anxiety, and disordered eating behaviors. However, research examining all three constructs together is lacking. Using objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) and social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954) as the theoretical framework, this quantitative correlational design utilizes a cross-sectional survey methodology to explore the intersecting relationships of social media usage, criticism, disordered eating behaviors, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms in females in college between the ages of 18-24. Instruments used in the study included a modified version of the Social Hassles Questionnaire (Muscat & Long, 2008), the EDE-Q (Fairburn & Beglin, 1994), and the PHQ-9 (Spitzer et al., 1999), and the GAD-7 (Spitzer et al., 2006). Results indicated that there are relationships between emotional reaction to critical comments and DE, anxiety, and depression.