Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Social media and eating disorder recovery: An exploration of Instagram recovery community users and their reasons for engagement
Contributor(s): Au, Emily S  (author); Cosh, Suzanne M  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2022-08
Early Online Version: 2022-06-22
DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2022.101651
Handle Link:


Online recovery communities offer support for people with eating disorders who may not otherwise seek professional help. Instagram is a popular platform that is widely used for eating disorder recovery, but little is known about the population that uses it or its potential benefits.


A mixed-methods study surveyed 163 users of the Instagram recovery community to identify their descriptive characteristics, their reasons for using the community, and what they perceived to be helpful or unhelpful about the platform.


The community included users who were diverse in gender, ethnicity and eating disorder presentation and severity, with cases of potential anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder identified. Reasons for engaging in the community included to see representations of diverse individuals and as an alternative to professional treatment. Results indicate that the community may provide benefits for recovery such as social support and validation, but that its lack of moderation and potential for harmful content can also prevent recovery.


These findings highlight the need for better recognition of diverse eating disorder presentations and improved accessibility to professional treatment in the wider community. Moderated use of the platform should be considered in order to minimize risks and increase benefits.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Eating Behaviors, v.46, p. 1-7
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1873-7358
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520302 Clinical psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200409 Mental health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

Files in This Item:
1 files
File SizeFormat 
Show full item record
Google Media

Google ScholarTM



Items in Research UNE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.