Instagram selfie-posting and young women’s body dissatisfaction: Investigating the role of self-esteem and need for popularity


An online survey was conducted to explore how Instagram users’ selfie-posting behavior affects their self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. Female college students from South Korea (N = 321) participated in the survey. Results showed that Instagram users’ selfie-posting was positively related to their self-esteem. Moreover, Instagram users’ self-esteem mediated the relationship between their selfie-posting behavior and body dissatisfaction. Findings showed that Instagram users’ selfie-posting behavior may positively influence their self-esteem, which may consequently contribute to reducing their body dissatisfaction. Such an indirect effect of selfie-posting was moderated by Instagram users’ levels of the need for popularity. The indirect influence of selfie-posting on body dissatisfaction through self-esteem was only significant among those with low or moderate levels of the need for popularity. This suggests that those with lower levels of the need for popularity can benefit more from posting their selfies. These findings advance the emerging literature on the effects of selfie-posting by providing a moderated mediation model of selfie-posting and body image concerns.

Bibliographic citation

Kim, M. (2020). Instagram selfie-posting and young women’s body dissatisfaction: Investigating the role of self-esteem and need for popularity. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 14(4), Article 4. doi:


Selfie-posting; body dissatisfaction; self-esteem; need for popularity; Instagram

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