Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology
Negative body image is a social and psychological concern that plagues many young women in the United States and has a strong relationship to the onset of eating disorders. One outcome of past research done on body dissatisfaction and eating concerns has been the implementation of peer-led prevention programs such as The Body Project and More Than Muscles that address negative body image and disordered eating. These programs target the sociocultural factors that contribute to eating and body image issues on college campuses. This study uses interviews supplemented by ethnographic fieldnotes and content analysis to describe and evaluate the implementation of The Body Project (and to a lesser extent More Than Muscles) on college campuses in Illinois. It aims to explain, through a sociological lens, similarities and divergences between various programs and how inclusive of social differences the Body Project is and/or appears to be. This research shows that many of the facilitators who execute the Body Project on their campuses in Illinois believe the program to be effective and well suited for their students but are aware of the lack of diversity among the participants and peer facilitators. Interview data in conjunction with my field notes while facilitating the program indicate a disconnect between student experiences and the script text. More specifically, students who are systemically marginalized with respect to ability, body shape/size, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in various communities are neither represented among those who execute the program nor in the program’s material. This research will determine whether implementations of the program lack examples of more current interactions with the appearance ideal on social media, cosmetic surgery, Photoshop apps, etc. that students today experience.
Ross, Maria, "A Qualitative Inquiry of the Body Project on College Campuses in Illinois" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1572.