Addressing Body Image Concerns Online

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2001 Volume 12, Number 6
©2001 Gürze Books

A small pilot study has shown that interactive intervention using the Internet can reduce body image concerns among college-aged women in a convenient and cost-effective way. Denise Wilfley, PhD, and colleagues at Stanford University designed an 8-week program during which 18 college-aged women with high body image concerns were randomly assigned to an online intervention group or a wait-list control group. Those in the intervention group logged onto a private unlisted online club once a week to discuss issues related to their concerns about body image and problematic eating behaviors. A moderator structured and facilitated the group sessions, which consisted of support, homework assignments, and group treatment summaries. At follow-up, the areas that were most improved on the assessments included restraint and concerns about weight and shape. There was also a small- to-medium effect on the Drive for Thinness scales and a slight effect on the weight concern. The researchers described their study at the Academy for Eating Disorders meeting in Vancouver in May.

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