Self-objectification, resulting from certain media content and problematic media use may lead to significant negative well-being outcomes among media recipients and media users. The present study sought to contribute to the existing literature regarding this phenomenon while pursuing the recent transition to study gender traits, meaning personality, as valuable predictors of media behaviour. Next to gender traits, Instagram use and the motivations for its use were considered as potential predictors of self-objectification and further of wellbeing, composed by self-esteem and life satisfaction. This study addressed the following research question: To what extent do gender traits, Instagram use and its motivations, influence self-objectification and thus, together, influence Instagram users’ well-being? To answer this question, a quantitative survey was used among an international sample of Instagram users (N = 477). Results showed that gender traits influenced all variables under study, namely Instagram use, motivations for its use, self-objectification, self-esteem and life satisfaction. Findings thus contributed to confirming that gender traits add valuable information when studying media related behaviours and their consequences. Results also revealed that Instagram use and its motivations may indirectly impact self-objectification, while self-objectification was a direct predictor of well-being. It was found that negative masculine traits were significant predictors of documentation and self-promotion motivation use, and later, negatively influenced self-objectification. Further, these gender attributes positively impacted life satisfaction, which was also positively influenced by documentation and self-promotion motivations. Only negative feminine traits were found to have a negative effect on self-esteem, which appeared to also be negatively predicted by self-objectification. However, Instagram use, which was directly impacted by gender traits was found to influence self-objectification and well-being, but to a smaller extent, as it was not found to be a direct predictor. Contrary to what previous theory indicated, the present study interestingly showed that self-objectification had negative effects on self-esteem and positive ones on life satisfaction. Future research may examine whether these two different components of wellbeing depend on the media content that is primed by media studies. From a media research perspective, this study emphasises the need, in accordance to previous literature, to take into account gender traits as predictors of problematic social media usage and their resulting behaviours.

, , , , , , ,
Kneer, Julia
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Georget, Emma. (2020, June 29). When Scrolling through Instagram, keep your well-being in mind The influence of gender traits, Instagram use, motivation and self-objectification on Instagram users' well-being. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from