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Maria McGinlay
4th year
A Zoom Into Body Dysmorphia: Investigating the Correlations Between Video Calling Duration, Focus and Behaviours on UK Students’ Level Of Dysmorphic Concern
Recent research suggests that ‘Zoom dysmorphia’, a phenomenon where the use of front-facing cameras on video calls causes changes to self-perception, is on the rise. With students remotely learning, and this cohort being at risk of body image issues, it is essential to understand the relationship between video calling and a negative self- view, so-called ‘Zoom dysmorphia’. This partial replication study used part of the method from a previous study, and aimed to investigate if there were significant correlations between video call duration, focus and manipulation behaviours against dysmorphic concern scores in a UK-based student sample. Utilising this cohort was essential to understanding the impact remote learning can have on an at-risk sample. An online questionnaire was attempted by 68 participants and completed fully by 49 students. The survey included questions on demographic information, video call behaviours and the Dysmorphic Concern Questionnaire (DCQ). Although the results surrounding video call duration were inconclusive, participants who claimed to focus on their own face the most (in comparison to focusing on other faces or extraneous screen-based activities) while on video calls had the highest overall DCQ scores and one video manipulation tactic was significant in predicting DCQ scores: positioning/camera angle adjustment. Consequently, there are links between video calling and dysmorphic concern, supporting Zoom dysmorphia as a phenomenon. Possible explanations for these results were explored such as mirror checking behaviours and avoidance tactics. Safeguarding practices such as reduced on-camera screen time were proposed and directions for future research into turning of cameras on video calls was suggested.
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