School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Todd Schultz


mother-daughter relationship, social media, body image




The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how adolescent females between the ages of thirteen and nineteen feel and think about their relationship with their mothers, and examine how this impacts social media use and body image. Although greatly and typically applied to quantitative research studies, the tripartite influence model of body image was the primary theory that guided this study. With the immediate accessibility to social media platforms, young women are recognizing a decline in their body satisfaction. Social media serves as another social pressure for adolescents to navigate and is filtered through their pre-existing perceptions of body image and self-esteem; it is known that the mother-daughter relationship plays a vital role in the development of self-esteem and body image in young women. Attachment theory provided further support for this study, as it offers grounded research on the mother-daughter relationship and the role of attachment in body image development. This research study explored this phenomenon from the perspective of an adolescent female to offer insight on the ways this relationship can directly affect social media use and its impacts on body image. Results suggested that the attachment between the mother and daughter greatly impacts how the messages about body image and overall appearance are perceived by female adolescents. Mothers play a crucial role in the body image development of a female adolescent; the beliefs and behaviors learned within this relationship inform how female adolescents utilize and are impacted by social media.

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