Are you suffering from 'The Love Island Effect'?

Whether you love it or hate it, it's no secret that whenever Love Island time comes around, the entire world seems to shift on its axis. And while most people enjoy it for the light-hearted romp that it is, some people (myself included) find that it's a hugely triggering flesh-fest of extremely skinny, bronzed men and women that actually negatively affects their mental wellbeing. 


Tweets ranging from 'they make me feel like a fat pig' to 'seeing them literally makes me want to starve myself' poured out in their hundreds during the first episode, and while ITV2 are of course selling a fantasy, the complete lack of diversity (or even anyone remotely near to a size 10) has had psychologists offering some pause for thought. 

Kimberley Wilson, a specialist food psychologist, has coined the term The Love Island Effect. She believes that this constant reinforcement of one type of body image can be extremely damaging, and that "research indicates that scrolling through hundreds of social media body images increases body dissatisfaction and watching hours of image-focussed reality TV may do the same."

And it's not just women that are affected, either. "In the UK, the Image & Performance Enhancing Drug survey looks at patterns of steroid use. In 2017 they reported an increase in dangerous steroid use and that most people use them to change their body image or for cosmetic/aesthetic purposes (rather than to enhance sporting performance), which researchers believe is linked to the popularity of shows like Love Island."

Even the people on the show are affected by it - "Contestants themselves talk about the pressure to look good. Former contestant Simon Searles said of the boys, 'They'd be working out like crazy during the day trying to stay in shape. They wouldn’t eat anything.'"

So while the world and his dog seems to be obsessed with a bunch of bronzed mega babes and their text message habits at the moment, please watch responsibly.