A Content Analysis of Thinspiration, Fitspiration, and Bonespiration on social media

Catherine Talbot, Jeffrey Gavin, Tommy Van Steen, Yvette Morey

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Images which inspire certain body ideals, such as thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration, can be found on social media, but no research has compared the physical attributes of the bodies featured within this content. Method A content analysis was performed on a sample of body focussed images with the hashtags thinspiration, fitspiration, and bonespiration from three social media platforms. Findings The analysis showed that thinspiration and bonespiration content contained more thin and objectified bodies, compared to fitspiration which had a greater prevalence of muscles and muscular bodies. In addition, bonespiration content contained more bone protrusions and less muscles than thinspiration content. Conclusions the findings suggest fitspiration may be a less unhealthy type of content; however, a subgroup of imagery was identified which idealised the extremely thin body type and as such this content should also be approached with caution. Future research should utilise qualitative methods to further develop understandings of the body ideals which are constructed within these groups of content and the motivations behind posting this content
Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2017


  • thinspiration, fitspiration, bonespiration, social media, body image, content analysis


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