Dr Petya Eckler

Senior Lecturer

Journalism, Media and Communication

Personal statement

My primary area of research is health communication through social media.

I have studied how using Facebook relates to body image and eating attitudes among young women and have led a team of experts to propose a research agenda for the area of social media, body image and eating disorders. 

I have also examined health-related peer-to-peer communication through online platforms and how it influences health attitudes and outcomes. And how hospitals in the United States use social media to communicate with their patients. I have also conducted research in international communication by surveying international journalists about disaster coverage by the media, and advertising, where I have studied viral videos and online customer reviews.

I work with various interdisciplinary groups on campus and am a fellow of the  Centre for Health Policy. I am also the founder and coordinator of the Working Group on Body Image and Eating Disorders, which includes academics, clinicians, health charity professionals, bloggers and people with lived experiences. We work on research and public engagement around social media, body image and creating a healthier and more inclusive online environment for young people. Watch our video here, which explores how young people use and feel about social media.

I give frequent interviews to the media, public talks about social media and body image/mental health, and presentations at schools, clinicians’ groups, etc. Watch my TEDx talk on the topic.

My professional experience includes working as an assistant editor, managing editor, health writer, reporter, and copy editor for various publications in the United States and Bulgaria, and as a public relations coordinator at the American University in Bulgaria.

I currently supervise two doctoral students, who work on the topics of the beach body and body image, and on crisis communication and social media. I welcome applications from PhD students interested in health communication, digital media/social media and health, body image, eating disorders, mental health, advertising, public relations or strategic communication (with or without a health focus).



What motivates young adults to talk about physical activity on social network sites?
Zhang Ni, Campo Shelly, Yang Jingzhen, Eckler Petya, Snetselaar Linda, Janz Kathleen F, Leary Emily
Journal of Medical Internet Research Vol 19 (2017)
Using a collaborative approach to develop research questions
Tonner Andrea, Eckler Petya
9th EIASM Workshop on Interpretive Consumer Research (2017)
The female body on social media
Eckler Petya, Kalyango Jr. Yusuf
Social Media (2017) (2017)
Facebook use and negative body image among U.S. college women
Eckler Petya, Kalyango Jr. Yusuf, Paasch Ellen
Women & Health Vol 57, pp. 249-267 (2017)
Characteristics of community newspaper coverage of tobacco control and its relationship to the passage of tobacco ordinances
Eckler Petya, Rodgers Shelly, Everett Kevin
Journal of Community Health Vol 41, pp. 953-961 (2016)
Mediatizing the naked truth - a re-conceptualisation of the ideal beach body in contemporary media
Kleim A, Eckler P, Tonner A
6th European Communication Conference (2016)

more publications


  • Journalism 1b (first year) 
  • Journalism 2 (second year) 
  • Journalism Portfolio (fourth year, honours) 
  • Producing Media (post-graduate) 

Professional activities

European Researcher Night 2017
Vox pops of social media attitudes
European Researcher Night 2016
Body Image and Eating Disorders: Future Research Priorities
Engage with Strathclyde 2016
Advances in Digital and Connected Health and Wellness

more professional activities


Body Image and Social Media: Research and Practice in a Changing Environment
Eckler, Petya (Principal Investigator) Tonner, Andrea (Co-investigator) Cameron, Julie (Co-investigator)
The grant provided seed money for intensifying the impact of knowledge exchange activities related to my research on body image. Awarded £3,510.
01-Jan-2016 - 30-Jan-2019
Exploring access to mental health care services for linguistically and culturally diverse patients
Perez, Isabelle (Principal Investigator) Angelelli, Claudia (Principal Investigator) Wilson, Christine (Co-investigator) Quinn, Neil (Co-investigator) Eckler, Petya (Co-investigator) Knifton, Lee (Co-investigator) Mowatt, Louise (Co-investigator) Hattie, Mary (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 30-Jan-2015

more projects


Journalism, Media and Communication
Lord Hope Building

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