Dissonance-Based Eating Disorder Preventive Intervention and Attentional Biases in Body-Dissatisfied University Women: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial [article]

Leah Nicole Tobin, University Of Calgary, Kristin M. Von Ranson
Body dissatisfaction is associated with maladaptive attentional biases theorized to contribute to the development of eating disorders. The Body Project is a cognitive dissonance-based preventive intervention that reduces body dissatisfaction and other eating disorder risk factors. It is unknown whether Body Project participation reduces attentional biases associated with body dissatisfaction. This question is important given attempts to reduce such maladaptive attentional biases have been
more » ... y unsuccessful in past research. Additionally, research has yet to examine Body Project participation's effects on body appreciation in university women, an at-risk demographic, which is important because research has shown body appreciation to protect women from negative effects of media exposure. We evaluated the efficacy of Body Project participation in reducing attentional biases and self-reported outcomes, including body appreciation, via a cluster randomized controlled trial. A sample of 168 body-dissatisfied university women were randomized to: Body Project, Media Psychoeducation (active control), or Waitlist control condition. An additional 64 body-satisfied university women completed assessments only to examine whether a subset of the current sample replicated past attentional bias findings. Outcome data were collected at Baseline, post-intervention, and 1-month follow-up. Attention was assessed via eye-tracking and additional outcomes via questionnaires. Results showed that, as hypothesized, Body Project participation reduced attention to images of "thin" models compared to Waitlist, but not for weight-related words. It also led to improved body appreciation compared to Waitlist, and replicated self-report outcomes in the literature, although effects were not seen at 1-month follow-up. Together, results indicate Body Project participation's effects extend to cognitive processes suggesting an avenue to reduce maladaptive attentional biases, and that Body Project participation's effects on body appreciation extend [...]
doi:10.11575/prism/37544 fatcat:6fwnbohxffdxhpi4knrz43zq4u