Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Background: Negative body image, disordered eating, and eating disorders affect large numbers of young women each year. The use of dissonance-based eating disorder prevention programs in college-aged women has been shown to improve how women feel about their bodies and better equip women for challenging stereotypes that exist in the culture today.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the intervention strategies of the “Body Project,” an eating disorder prevention program, and assess the effectiveness on reducing five eating disorder risk factors; thin-ideal internalization, diet restraint, body dissatisfaction, negative affect, and eating disorder symptoms.
Design: Two years of pre- and post-Body Project survey data were utilized to examine the intervention effects of the Body Project eating disorder prevention program.
Participants: Female college students at a large public university were welcome to participate in the Body Project. Data was collected from a total of 51 female college students who participated in the workshop in a two-year period.
Results: Statistical analysis revealed a significant improvement in all five eating disorder risk factors assessed after participants participated in the Body Project. Ideal-thin internalization decreased by 22.7% (7.26 ± 6.48 points), dieting behaviors decreased by 16.6% (6.649 ± 7.392 points), body dissatisfaction decreased by 13.5% (-4.863 ± 7.001 points), negative affect decreased by 12.4% (9.931 ± 11.586 points), and eating disorder symptoms related to body image decreased by 7.1% (-2.549 ± 7.198 points). In addition, there were strong positive correlations between pre-and-post eating disorder risk factors, and these relationships changed and weakened from pre- to post-survey. Finally, after adjustment for BMI, there was a statistically significant difference in body dissatisfaction scores from pre-survey to post-survey, F = 4.544, p<.05. Results showed that body dissatisfaction was significantly improved in participants with higher BMIs (overweight/obese classification) compared to participants with lower BMIs (BMI Group 1), a mean difference of 3.692 points, p<.05.
Conclusions: Eating disorder risk factors significantly decreased after participating in the Body Project program. BMI did not have a direct effect on 4 of the 5 eating disorder risk factors, but there was a correlation between BMI and body dissatisfaction. More research needs to be conducted that examines the long-term effects of eating disorder prevention programs and the relationship between BMI and intervention impacts.
DeCeault, Krista B., "Intervention Effects of an Eating Disorder Prevention Program Utilized by a Public University" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 721.