Associations between social media, adolescent mental health, and diet: A systematic review

Laurence Blanchard, Kaitlin Conway-Moore, Anaely Aguiar, Furkan Önal, Harry Rutter, Arnfinn Helleve, Emmanuel Nwosu, Jane Falcone, Natalie Savona, Emma Boyland, Cécile Knai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Social media use is integral to many adolescents' lives. It brings benefits but can also have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. We conducted a systematic review examining associations between social media use, adolescent mental health (including body image, self-esteem, stress, interpersonal relationships and loneliness, anxiety, and depressive symptoms), and dietary outcomes. Quantitative studies published between 2019 and 2023 investigating both mental health and diet were searched in 11 databases. The risk of bias was appraised using ROBINS-E. Data were narratively synthesized by type of association, PROGRESS-Plus health equity characteristics, and related to social media influencers. Twenty-one studies were included, of which only one focused on influencers. Sex/gender was the only equity characteristic assessed (n =?8), with mixed results. The findings suggest significant positive correlations between social media use and both depressive and disordered eating symptoms, body dissatisfaction, and anxiety. Four studies identified body image, self-esteem, or anxiety as moderators acting between social media exposure and dietary outcomes. Policy interventions mitigating the impact of social media on adolescents?particularly body image and disordered eating?are needed, alongside follow-up studies on causal pathways, the role of influencers, equity impacts, dietary intake, and the best measurement tools to use.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13631
Number of pages15
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding information: This project is part of the CO-CREATE project, which is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program for Sustainable Food Security under grant agreement no. 774210. The funder was not involved in any part of this study.


  • adolescent
  • diet
  • mental health
  • social media


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