The Photo Investment Scale: analysis of psychometric properties, factorial structure, and invariance of an Italian version

Paolo Mancin, Silvia Cerea, Andrea Spoto, Marta Ghisi


Background: Photo investment refers to concerns about the quality of the photo and effort expended in choosing self-photos to post online; it demonstrated an association with negative body image. To examine it, the Photo Investment Scale (PIS) was developed. The current study aims to examine the factorial structure, gender invariance, internal consistency, temporal stability, and convergent validity of the Italian version of the PIS. Secondly, we examined the associations between photo investment and both body dissatisfaction and social anxiety.

Methods: A sample of 250 individuals (women: 56%; age: M = 25.36; SD = 7.97) completed the PIS alongside measures related to photo-based behaviours, body dissatisfaction, and social anxiety symptoms; 112 of them (women: 66.96%; age: M = 24.95; SD = 7.17) completed the PIS after 4 weeks. The sample was divided in two and one half was employed for an Exploratory Factor Analysis, while the other half for a Confirmatory Factor Analysis and a gender invariance. Furthermore, internal consistency was evaluated by calculating the McDonald’s Omega and the Greatest Lower Bound. Temporal stability was tested using Pearson’s correlations and t-tests. Moreover, convergent validity was tested using Pearson’s correlations. Finally, hierarchical multiple regressions were computed to test the associations between photo investment and both body dissatisfaction and social anxiety.

Results: Firstly, the PIS showed a one-factor structure and a partial gender invariance. Internal consistency, temporal stability, and convergent validity were adequate. Secondly, photo investment emerged as uniquely associated with body dissatisfaction and social anxiety, after controlling for confounding variables.

Conclusions: The Italian version of the PIS as a valid and reliable instrument for the assessment of photo investment. Moreover, this photo-based behaviour emerged as a unique construct that supposedly could hinder individuals’ body image and increase anxiety during social interactions. Thus, evaluating photo investment could be relevant for the assessment of body image disorders and social anxiety disorder. 


Photo investment; Photo Investment Scale; Social media; Body dissatisfaction; Social anxiety; Clinical Psychology.

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