In the research spanning 300 people across four cities, it was found that the process of taking, altering and posting selfies negatively affects self-esteem and body image perception as well as promotes body dysmorphia.
These are the findings of a landmark study conducted by The Esthetic Clinics involving 300 patients who presented themselves at its branches in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad for cosmetic procedures.
The findings have clinical implications for the prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties, and raise significant concerns about social media use and well-being.
In Mumbai increase in anxiety among men is 63% and in women is 75%.
Decrease in confidence among 69% of men and 74% of women. Desire to change looks through cosmetic surgery in men increase to 62% and in women, it has increase to 74%.
The feelings of inadequacy are intense enough to drive many of them to undergo cosmetic surgery to change their facial appearance.
The findings about negative psychological impact of selfies on people were the most marled in Delhi, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, in that order, both for men and women in the overall India study that observed behaviours of people after posting their selfies on social media platforms, 60% men and 65% women showed an increase in anxiety.
Of all the respondents, 61% men and 70% women recorded a decrease in confidence after posting their selfies. There was significant decrease in feelings of physical attractiveness in 61% of the men and 67% of the women, leading to a desire to change looks through cosmetic surgery on 62% men and 65% of the women studied.
Renowned facial plastic and facial cosmetic surgeon Dr Debraj Shome, Director, The Esthetic Clincis, said, “This is the first-of-its-type study in India, conducted across four cities, has found that the process of taking, altering and posting selfies negatively affects self-esteem and body image perception, and promotes body dysmorphia. There is significant negative effect of taking and posting selfies on changes to mood and feelings of physical attractiveness.”
He added, “High body dissatisfaction is the primary risk factor for the development of eating disorders and is correlated with low self-esteem and depression. Addiction to phones and selfies may create a mentally unstable next generation.”
Dr Rinky Kapoor, cosmetic dermatologist and co-founder of the Esthetic Clinic said, “This study has now shown for the first time that selfies have an adverse psychological effect on one’s personality too. The impact is even more devastating on people with low self-esteem who take to social media to engage in public behaviour with reduced risk of disgrace and social anxiety.”
In Mumbai, 63% of men and 75% of women showed an increase in levels of anxiety after posting their selfies on social media, and 69% men abd 74% women showed decrease in self-confidence.
Their feelings of physical attractiveness also recorded a dip, with 72% men and 74% women feeling dissatisfied with their look. This led to a desire to change looks through cosmetic surgery in 62% men and 74% women in Mumbai.
Given that men and women between 16-25 years of age spend up to 5 hours per week taking selfies and uploading them to their personal profiles, these findings have clinical implications for the prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties and raise significant concern about social media use and well-being.