Critical Interventions Aimed to Reduce Body Dissatisfaction: The Way You Perceive Your Body Matters

Objectives: To decide whether brief cognitive dissonance interventions, media literacy, and a mindful body scan among female undergraduate students may reduce body dissatisfaction and whether mindfulness, emotion control, positive and negative effects, and levels of media literacy have an impact on body appreciation. Study Design: An experimental design was used in the present study and three intervention groups and an active control group were included. Research Location and Duration: Center for Psychological Creativity from January 17 to March 6, 2020 at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Methodology: 78 female participants with a mean age of 21 years (SD = 5.16) between the ages of 17 to 49 years. All participants underwent an induction procedure for body dissatisfaction and completed self-report questionnaires on body satisfaction (using the Body Appreciation Scale), mindfulness (using the Five Facet Mindfulness Scale), emotion regulation (using the Emotion Regulation Difficulties), positive and negative impact (using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), and media literacy (using the Critically Thinking About Media Messages, Media Attitudes Questionnaire, and the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire). Results: Three different multiple linear regression tests showed discrepancies in the variables predicting Time1, F(7, 70) = 12.09, p < .001, Time 2, F(7, 70) = 14.74, p< .001, and Time3, F(7, 70) = 15.07, p < .001 body appreciation ratings. A one-way ANOVA showed that after the completion of the intervention, F(1, 76) = .069, p = .793, but not after the body dissatisfaction induction procedure or before the intervention, body appreciation scores increased for all four conditions. Conclusion: These results confirm that negative effects and low levels of media literacy contribute to feelings of discontent with the body and that brief periods of directing the mind away from the body lead to increased enjoyment of the body. Future research should look at the impacts of brief interventions among men who idealise the muscular-ideal on body appreciation.

Author(s) Details

Lucijana Herceg
Department of Psychology, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB, T3E 6K6, Canada.

Mitchell Clark
Department of Psychology, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB, T3E 6K6, Canada.

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