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Following up on #Fitspiration: A comparative content analysis and thematic analysis of social media content aiming to inspire fitness from 2014 and 2021.

Bell, B. T., Talbot, C. V. and Deighton-Smith, N., 2024. Following up on #Fitspiration: A comparative content analysis and thematic analysis of social media content aiming to inspire fitness from 2014 and 2021. Psychology of Popular Media. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1037/ppm0000523


Creating and sharing content that ostensibly inspires fitness remains a popular use of Instagram. This study aims to understand constructions of fitness motivation in Instagram posts labeled “#fitspiration” from 2021 and draw comparisons to posts from 2014. A data set of 1,000 posts (n = 790 after exclusion criteria applied) labeled #fitspiration was extracted in January 2021 and compared to an analysis of 1,000 posts extracted in January 2014 (n = 944 postexclusions; Deighton-Smith & Bell, 2018). Content analysis showed images mainly contained exercise-related content, people, and text. People were typically depicted in gendered and objectified ways, and adhered to sociocultural body ideals surrounding thinness and muscularity. While comparable with the 2014 data set, significantly more exercise images and significantly fewer diet images were found, along with fewer markers of objectification and thin and/or muscular bodies. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse text contained within images. Three themes were developed; (a) “Never miss a Monday”: Fitness and health have rules, (b) Just do it: Lifting the weight of self-doubt, and (c) Strive to be the best: Consequences of decision making. Like the 2014 data set, themes constructed thin and muscular bodies as the desired end-goal of fitness and emphasized personal responsibility for fitness practices. However, some messages from 2014 were less salient (e.g., equating fitness with sexual attractiveness) and different ways of motivating fitness were identified (e.g., through instruction). Combined, analyses highlight how #fitspiration content in 2021 was similar to 2014, but with more emphasis on exercise and slightly less on appearance.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:fitspiration; fitness; social media; content analysis; body image
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39499
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:09 Feb 2024 09:48
Last Modified:01 Mar 2024 08:34


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