CP Research Corner: A Content Analysis of “Pro-Ana” Websites

A recent study by Talbot, Gavin, van Steen, and Morey (2017) examined the different content in fitspiration, thinspiration, and bonespiration on social media outlets and “pro-ana” websites. These types of images are used to try to motivate people to achieve specific body types, which can be dangerous for individuals at risk of developing eating disorders. These pictures often lead to body dissatisfaction and decreased self-esteem.

The Impact of “Pro-Ana” Websites

The researchers found the fitspiration may not be as detrimental because it mainly featured muscular bodies. However, some of these images were similar to thinspiration and bonespiration in that they idealized extremely thin bodies. Furthermore, bonespiration included images with even more protruding bones and thinner bodies than thinspiration, making it a highly dangerous source for individuals at-risk for developing eating disorders.

The results of this study suggest that fitspiration may not be as detrimental as thinspiration and bonespiration. Still, it should still be approached with caution. The other two sources of images should be avoided.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating behavior, please reach out to our team at info@columbuspark.com to discuss how we can help.