Studies about body dissatisfaction

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Body Image Dissatisfaction
A poll conducted by a popular women's magazine found that 75% of women thought they were "too fat" (Glamour,1984). A large scale survey conducted by Garner (1997) found body dissatisfaction to be "increasing at a faster rate than ever before" among both men and women (p. 34). He found that 89% of the 3,452 female respondents wanted to lose weight.

Many women suffer from body dissatisfaction, and assiduous dieting and the relentless pursuit of thinness has become a normative behavior among women in Western society (Rodin, Silberstein & Striegel-Moore,1984). Thinness has not only come to represent attractiveness, but also has come to symbolize success, self-control and higher socioeconomic status. Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. estimated the size of the weight loss industry for 1994 at $32,680 billion.

Over 90% of patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa are women (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Body image dissatisfaction and dieting behavior isn't restricted to adolescents or adults. In a study of almost five hundred schoolgirls, 81% of the ten-year-olds reported that they had dieted at least once (Mellin, Scully & Irwin, 1986). A study of 36,000 students in Minnesota found that girls with negative body image were three times more likely than boys of the same age, to say that they feel badly about themselves and were more likely to believe that others see them in a negative light. The study also found that negative body image is associated with suicide risk for girls, not for boys (American Association of University Women, 1990).

Wooley and Wooley (1980) found that girls are more influenced and thus more vulnerable to cultural standards of ideal body images than boys are. A recent national health study, that studied 2,379 9yr and 10 yr old girls (approximately half White and half Black) found that 40 % of them reported that they were trying to lose weight (Striegel-Moore et al, 1996).

Shame seems to be another component of women's attitudes toward their bodies. In a Kinsey survey it was found that women felt more embarrassed when asked about their weight, than when they were asked about their masturbation practices, or occurrences of homosexual affairs (Kinsey et al., 1953).

Women and girls are also consistently taught from an early age that their self-worth is largely dependent on how they look. The fact that women earn more money than men in only two job categories, those of modeling and prostitution serves to illustrate this point (Wolf, 1992).

Smoking is a common method of weight loss being used by today's youth, according to Frances Berg, editor/publisher of the Healthy Weight Journal (Berg, 1997). For the first time in history the smoking rate of girls now surpasses that of boys, with the compelling motivation for this behavior being weight control (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-US, 1995). Forty percent to 50% of women smokers smoke because they see it as a primary mean to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking (Wolf, 1992, p.229; Garner, 1997).

Another common method to lose weight is dieting. Dieting is more common than not dieting, with 95% of the female population having dieted at some time (Polivy & Herman, 1987). Dieting has been as a powerful contributor to dysphoria because of the failure often associated with this type of weight loss method, 95-98% of all dieter regain their weight (Heatherton & Polivy, 1992; Cooke, 1996, p.35). Caloric deprivation experiments have shown to produce depression, anxiety and irritability (Keys, Brozek, Henschel, Mickelsen & Taylor, 1950). A sobering finding is that most bulimics report that the onset of their eating disorder occurred during a period of dieting (Hall & Hay, 1991).

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Men and muscle:
When the need to bulk up becomes an obsessionby Vanessa Cavallaro
Featured in the Tufts Daily November 5, 2001
If Barbie dolls give young girls a distorted image of what the female body should look like, are boys receiving the same messages through GI Joe and other action figures? And as many women feel shame and dissatisfaction with their bodies, are men struggling with similar issues?

Although traditionally, most people affected with body dissatisfaction and eating disorders are women, an increasing number of men are coping with the same issues. In fact, just as some women worry about having unnaturally thin thighs, men can become obsessed with having a "washboard" stomach or "bulking up" because they feel they're too puny.

What are the signs?
So does every guy who goes to the gym on a regular basis have a distorted body image? No, of course not. By exercising regularly, they are contributing to their long-term health. But there are signs and symptoms of overdoing it to be aware of. Research led by Dr. Roberto Olivardia and Dr. Harrison G. Pope, co-authors of The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession, has found that men who are dissatisfied with their bodies are more likely to:

Report that they are very dissatisfied with their bodies and can spend more than three hours a day thinking about their muscularity.
Admit having little or no control over compulsive weight lifting and dietary patterns.
Avoid activities because they are uncomfortable with their body.
Avoid participating in activities they previously enjoyed.
Skip work or other responsibilities to exercise.
Who is affected?
Experts estimate that about 10 percent of eating disorder patients are men. However, this number may be low because of underreporting. Men are often reluctant to seek help for a syndrome commonly associated with women. Also, health care providers aren't used to identifying the signs of eating and body image disorders among men. Lastly, it may be easier and more socially acceptable for women to talk about body dissatisfaction and food issues than for men.

In many ways, men with body dissatisfaction are very similar to their female counterparts. Drs. Olivardia and Pope looked at 200 college-aged men in Austria, France, and the United States. The men were shown a computer image of a male body and were asked to adjust the image three times: First, until it reflected their own bodies; then, to what they wanted their bodies to look like; and finally, to the body type they thought women found most attractive. Although the images of their own bodies were fairly accurate, the men's ideal body type was on average 28 pounds more muscular than their own. And, surprisingly enough, they thought women wanted even more muscle than that.

Preoccupation with body image and appearance robs mental energy that could be used on other activities such as enjoying friends, studying, and creative thinking. Also, these men are more likely to use dangerous anabolic steroids to achieve the look they desire.

Why does this happen?
Evidence suggests that cultural influences play into the development of body dissatisfaction, just as they do with more traditional eating disorders. Magazines and movies bombard women with images of ultra-thin models and actresses, while men are confronted with images of muscular models and actors. And, as female movie stars get thinner, male actors are getting bigger. Marilyn Monroe and James Dean have turned into the ultra-thin Lara Flynn-Boyle and pumped-up Bruce Willis. It is a culturally defined ideal—men are big and women are small.

Body dissatisfaction among men may be a growing trend, and like body image issues among women, it is a multi-faceted problem. If you suspect that you or a friend is over-exercising, or too concerned about his muscularity, then encourage him to talk to a health care professional.

Vanessa Cavallaro is a MS student studying Nutrition at Tufts' Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman

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The effect of 'thin-ideal' media on adolescent body image: The role of appearance schematicity Mr Duane Hargreaves
Bachelor of Psychology

Unrealistic societal ideals of attractiveness portrayed in the media are often held responsible for the large and increasing number of women and men who are dissatisfied with their appearance. In turn, body image disturbance has been linked to the development of numerous psychological difficulties including eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. Accordingly, the broad aims of my thesis are: (1) to describe the media's immediate impact on the development of body dissatisfaction among girls and boys; (2) to identify why the media's negative impact is more pronounced for certain 'at-risk' individuals; (3) to examine the longer-term consequences of ongoing exposure to 'thin-ideal' media.

To date, we have conducted three large experiments to examine various aspects of the media's impact on adolescent body image. Surprisingly, no previous experimental research has examined television influences among this population, despite the importance of adolescence in the development of body image and eating disturbances, and the large amount of time adolescents spend watching TV. Some key findings are as follows: Exposure to televised images of female attractiveness affects mood and body dissatisfaction among girls but not boys. However, not all girls are equally vulnerable. In particular, older girls who are low on appearance schematicity, and girls from rural areas seem more resistant to the media's immediate negative effect. Further, exposure to images of attractiveness continues to have a negative impact on girls' body image for at least 15 minutes after exposure compared to viewing non-appearance-related images. Finally, there is some evidence to suggest that commercials do not directly affect body image, but that these effects are mediated by appearance-schema activation. At present we are examining the impact of televised images of male attractiveness on boys' body image.

Selected Publications
Hargreaves, D.A., & Tiggemann, M. (2002). The effect of television commercials on mood and body dissatisfaction: The role of appearacne-schema activation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21, in press.
Conference Presentations
Hargreaves, D.A., & Tiggemann, M. Negative effect of television commercials on body dissatisfaction during early adolescence. 3rd National Body Image Conference, Melbourne, September, 2001
Hargreaves, D.A., & Tiggemann, M. TV and body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. 36th Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Adelaide, September, 2001
Hargreaves, D.A., & Tiggemann, M. Negative effect of television commercials on body dissatisfaction during early and mid-adolescence. International Conference on Eating Disorders, Boston, April, 2002

Contact Details
School of Psychology
The Flinders University of South Australia
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide, South Australia 5001

Office: 360 Social Sciences North
Phone: (+61 8) 8201 2427
Fax: (+61 8) 8201 3877

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Body-Image and Eating Disturbances Predict Onset of Depression Among Female Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study

Original article authored by:Eric Stice, Chris Hayward, Rebecca P. Cameron, Joel D. Killen, and Barr C. Taylor

This summary includes the following sections:


Approximately 20% of adolescents meet the criteria of having experienced major depression. Depression is associated with numerous health risks such as suicide attempts and substance use. It also predicts future adjustment problems such as school failure, delinquency, marital difficulties, and unemployment. The rate of depression is higher among girls than boys. Indeed, by late adolescence, the rate of depression among girls is twice that of boys.

Past research is somewhat limited regarding what factors contribute to this difference among boys and girls during adolescence. The authors of this study hypothesized that body image and eating-related risk factors could account for some of the depression seen in girls. As a result, this study explores the link between body image, eating disturbances, and major depression in girls, and examines the extent to which body image and eating-related risk factors can predict the onset of major depression among females.


The data for this study were drawn from a longitudinal survey of 1,124 females from three schools in northern California. These girls had parent permission to take part in the study. Participation included completing a survey, taking part in height and weight measurements, and having a clinical interview four times over a four-year period. The girls were an average of 14.7 years old at the beginning of the study. Their ethnic/racial background was mixed: 25% Asian, 4% Black, 42% White, 15% Hispanic, 7% Native American, 6% "mixed" racial heritage, and 1% "other."


The study included the following measures, which are established scales that have also been used in other research:

Body mass index (BMI=kg/M2)

Body dissatisfaction (e.g., I think my thighs are too large)
Dietary restraint (e.g., How often do you diet?)
Bulimic symptoms (e.g., I have gone on eating binges where I felt I could not stop)
Depressive symptoms (e.g., I have been feeling pretty down and unhappy this week)
Major depression diagnosis (from DSM--III—R)
The study focuses only on those girls who did NOT have a diagnosis of ever having experienced major depression at the baseline assessment (n=1,024). The data were analyzed using a special regression analysis (called survival analysis) to see how the outcomes of interest (e.g., body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint) were related to each other and to the onset of major depression.


The authors found that three factors were important in predicting the onset of major depression:body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms
Elevated body mass did NOT predict the onset of major depression.


The authors conclude that body image and eating-related risk factors that emerge with adolescence can contribute to higher rates of depression among girls. The authors note that body dissatisfaction is thought to contribute to depression because of its emphasis for females in Western societies.

Body image is also thought to contribute to dietary restraint, which in turn leads to depression because of the failures often associated with dieting. Bulimic symptoms are thought to lead to depression because of the shame and guilt often associated with bingeing and purging.

Of interest, the cognitive aspects of body image appeared to be more important in predicting major depression than was actual body size.

Implications for Practice

This study yields implications for practitioners as well as researchers. Practitioners working with adolescents could help reduce major depression and related problems by designing ways to reduce body dissatisfaction, dieting, and bulimic symptoms.Practitioners are likely to get more impact by focusing on the cognitive aspects of body image (how youth think or feel about how their bodies look) than on actual body dimensions.

Because girls in Western societies are often judged based on their appearance, practitioners should address the cultural norms that influence body image and eating-related risk factors.

More research is needed to study how body image and eating-related risk factors differ for boys and girls. Further, additional research is needed to look at other general risk factors for major depression (e.g. negative life events or deficits in social support).

Reviewer's Note:
Though not discussed in this article, depression among adolescents also has been found to be linked to sexual risk-taking behavior such as sexual initiation and use of contraception (Kowaleski & Jones, 1998). The impact of body image on adolescents' sexual risk-taking behaviors is not well studied. Kowaleski-Jones, L. & Mott, F. (1998). Sex, contraception and childbearing among high-risk youth: Do different factors influence males and females? Family Planning Perspectives, 30(4), 163-169.

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Idealized Women in TV Ads Make Girls Feel Bad


Fri Jul 12, 5:35 PM ET

By Alan Mozes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - TV commercials that depict idealized images of rail-thin feminine beauty can send young female viewers--particularly those who place great importance on their appearance--into an immediate tailspin of increased anger and body dissatisfaction, Australian researchers say.

"Viewing television commercials containing images of the unrealistic thin-ideal for women caused adolescent girls to feel less confident, more angry and more dissatisfied with their weight and appearance," said study lead author Duane Hargreaves of Flinders University in South Australia.

Hargreaves and his team showed a compilation of TV commercials to a group of over 400 adolescent boys and girls attending high school in Adelaide, South Australia. The 40 clothing, food, cosmetic, movie and car commercials viewed were a one-week sample of spots airing on Australian networks in June 1999.

Half the students were exposed to between 10 and 11 minutes of commercials that relied heavily on images of idealized thin and attractive women to make their pitch. The other half watched spots that were deemed to be similarly engaging, but whose main focus was not on female appearance.

Both before and after watching the commercials, the students completed questionnaires to assess TV-viewing habits, the level of importance they placed on their appearance and their state of mind regarding body dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety and confidence.

In the current issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, the authors report that overall exposure to TV was high among the students. The average student watched 2.7 hours of TV each day--translating into a daily viewing of approximately 96 television commercials.

The researchers found that girls shown commercials with a focus on female appearance experienced a higher subsequent decrease in confidence than those watching the non-appearance-related spots.

And females who saw ads with idealized female imagery experienced a higher increase in body dissatisfaction, negative moods and anger, the report indicates.

The researchers conclude that watching TV images of idealized women appeared to have an immediate negative effect on young female--though not young male--viewers. They emphasized, however, that this effect did not occur across the board. Those women who place greater importance on their appearance, they note, are more prone to the negative impact of such commercials than those less concerned with their looks.

"I think that the results confirm what many of us understand and observe in our everyday lives--that is, the media's bombardment of unrealistic images of attractiveness has a detrimental effect on many young people," Hargreaves told Reuters Health.

"And it is a great concern to see that exposure to just a small number of commercials can increase body dissatisfaction. We can only imagine what the cumulative effect of a lifetime of exposures must be," he added.

Hargreaves noted that future research might explore to what degree men are similarly prone to body dissatisfaction in the face of the rising visibility of idealized muscular male imagery in the media.

"The media is not the sole reason for the high level of body dissatisfaction in our society," said Hargreaves. "(But) I think the media's message needs to be challenged on an ongoing basis, starting from an early age, and continuing throughout the schooling years. This could include education about the media's goals and techniques, as well as encouraging girls to value themselves for reasons beyond their bodies and appearance."

SOURCE: Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 2002;21:287-308.

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A new study shows a relationship between fashion magazine reading and certain eating disorders, and television viewing and body dissatisfaction. Researcher says the drive for thinness is a learned behavior. Photo by Bob Kalmbach

By Bernie DeGroat News and Information Services

While the appearance of waif-like models in the media may send a dangerous message about eating disorders, general fitness and fashion magazines and television shows with thin characters also play a key role in influencing irregular eating patterns of young women, says Kristen Harrison, assistant professor of communication studies.

"British model Kate Moss and other ultrathin cultural icons of feminine beauty who have sparked much of this controversy may not be uniquely dangerous," she says. "Instead, the overall emphasis on feminine thinness exemplified by multiple media depic tions of slender models and actresses should be considered for its possible influence on disordered eating."

In a survey of 232 female undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university in 1994, Harrison found that about 15 percent of the women met criteria for disordered eating--signs of anorexia or bulimia, body dissatisfaction, a drive for thinness, perfectionism and a sense of personal ineffectiveness.

The study, which appeared recently in the Journal of Communication, shows that magazine reading and television viewing, especially exposure to thinness-depicting and thinness-promoting media, significantly predict symptoms of women's eating disorders, Harrison says.

According to the study, women who frequently read fitness magazines for reasons other than interest in fitness and dieting display greater signs of disordered eating than women who rarely read them at all. Further, reading fashion magazines in parti cular is significantly related to a woman's drive for thinness and her dissatisfaction with her body, although magazine reading, in general, has little effect on body dissatisfaction.

Harrison says that the relationship between mass media consumption and symptoms of women's eating disorders appears to be stronger for magazine reading than for television viewing. However, watching "thin" shows is a consistent predictor of a woman's drive for thinness and viewing "heavy" shows is significantly related to body dissatisfaction.

Why does body dissatisfaction appear to be more strongly related to television viewing than magazine reading, whereas drive for thinness is more strongly related to magazine reading than television viewing? Similarly, why is body dissatisfaction rela ted to viewing "heavy" shows and not "thin" shows?

Harrison believes that the drive for thinness is a learned behavior that sources such as magazines explain how to achieve (e.g., dieting and exercise). Body dissatisfaction, on the other hand, is not associated with a particular action or behavior bu t is, instead, a set of attitudes, not intentions.

In a related study using the same sample of women, Harrison found that an interpersonal attraction to thin media personalities is related to disordered eating above and beyond the influence of mere exposure to media, even those that depict or promote thinness. She defines interpersonal attraction as a perceived similarity to a female celebrity, and a fondness for and a desire to be like the famous woman.

Being attracted to "thin" characters in shows like "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210" positively predicts general eating disorder symptoms--anorexia, bulimia, drive for thinness, perfectionism and ineffectiveness--whereas attraction to "average " and "heavy" media personalities do not.

"It seems clear that young women's patterns of disordered eating, including both attitudinal and behavioral tendencies, are related not only to the types of media they expose themselves to, but also to the way they perceive and respond to specific mas s media characters," Harrison says. "This relationship may seem obvious to readers who are concerned with this issue and openly acknowledge the possibility that the media operate as transmitters of potentially dangerous socially desirable values and norm s.

"Nonethless, it bears restating for the benefit of any members of the research community and the general public who still believe media messages to be largely ineffectual in the lives of young people."

Harrison's findings are reported in two separate studies: "The Relationship Between Media Consumption and Eating Disorders," published in the Journal of Communication; and "Does Interpersonal Attraction to Thin Media Personalities Promote Eati ng Disorders?" published in the fall 1997 issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a Treatment for Body Image Dissatisfaction
Catherine Faucher

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for body image has been proven an effective way to improve body dissatisfaction. It has been applied to persons with eating disorders, obesity, body dysmorphic disorder, and normal weight, all of whom harbor negative feelings toward their bodies. It is critically important to target body image for specific treatment, as negative feelings about one's body are often a major precipitous to eating disorders.

What is body image?
Body image can be defined as the picture one has in his mind about the appearance (i.e. size and shape) of his body, and the attitude that he forms toward these characteristics of his body. Thus there are two components of body image: the perceptual part, or how one sees his own body, and the attitudinal part, or how one feels about his perceived bodily appearance (Gardner, 1996). A negative body image can be in the form of mild feelings of unattractiveness to extreme obsession with physical appearance that impairs normal functioning (Rosen, 1995).

How do Americans feel about their bodies?
The 1997 Psychology Today Body Image Survey revealed that Americans have more discontentment with their bodies than ever before. Fifty-six percent of women surveyed said they are dissatisfied with their appearance in general. The main problem areas about which women complained were their abdomens (71 percent), body weight (66 percent), hips (60 percent) and muscle tone (58 percent). Many men were also dissatisfied with their overall appearance, almost 43 percent. However body dissatisfaction for men and women usually means two different things. More men as opposed to women wanted to gain weight in order to feel satisfied with their bodies (Garner, 1997).

Body image and eating disorders
Dissatisfaction with one's body can be used as a diagnostic criteria for eating disorders. A negative body image is associated with both anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Patients with binge-eating disorder also report significant amounts of distress over body image (Rosen, 1995).

Recovery from anorexia or bulimia in terms of eating habits or weight restoration does not indicate that the patient is satisfied with her physical appearance. In fact, about two-thirds of these "recovered" patients still worry excessively about their physical appearance. For many women, getting over the desire to be thin is the most difficult part of recovery. Body image must be targeted for treatment in eating disordered patients (Rosen, 1995).

Body image in non-eating disordered subjects
Body image is also a significant concern for those suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a disturbance of body image in which the patient has a preoccupation with an imagined defect. These patients are not necessarily concerned about overall body shape, their problem area may be much more specific. Nevertheless, BDD patients can also benefit from treatment for their negative body image (Veal et al., 1996).

Finally, many weight-preoccupied and obese women harbor negative body images about themselves. They do not suffer from any disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, but they are extremely body-dissatisfied. It is also appropriate for these women to receive treatment for the negative attitudes they hold toward their bodies.

Treatment for negative body image: What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that can be used to treat body image disturbances. It is administered in a group setting with a therapist, or the program can be more self maintained by the patient through modest contact with the therapist. CBT is often modified into different formats in order to target the specific population in therapy, such as bulimics or weight-preoccupied women. Some studies reviewed in this article based some portion of their cognitive behavior therapy on Cash's (1991) program, which consists of eight 30 minute cassettes and a patient workbook to supplement therapy sessions. A pattern of treatment sessions for all studies can be similar to the following example, used in Grant and Cash's 1995 study. First, the patient creates a self-assessment of how their negative body image developed; second, the patient learns to keep a diary about events that surround poignant moments of extreme body dissatisfaction; third, there is relaxation training; fourth, is desensitization to body exposure through imagination; fifth, sixth and seventh, is when the patient realizes and adjusts errors in body image judgement; eighth, is identifying "self-defeating avoidant and compulsive body image behaviors;" ninth, is using different strategies to reduce these negative behaviors; tenth, the review of new cognitive and behavior skills and learning how to implement them in difficult interpersonal events that provoke negative body image; and eleventh, to practice relapse-prevention strategies (Grant & Cash, 1995).

Although all programs are not identical to this one, Grant and Cash's (1995) model provides a good example of the types of activities found in cognitive behavior therapy for body image dissatisfaction.

Normal weight women with negative body image
A. Group therapy and modest contact
Grant and Cash (1995) looked at body dissatisfaction among non-eating disordered normal weight woman. They studied 23 extremely body dissatisfied woman who followed Cash's (1991) body image cognitive behavioral therapy under one of two conditions: either in a group therapy situation or in a self-directed program with only modest contact with a therapist. Treatment was provided in 11 therapy sessions over the period of four months. In their current study, Grant and Cash found that patients can achieve comparable success to group therapy when following a self-directed format with modest therapist contact. After cognitive behavior therapy, patients in both subgroups became less appearance-schematic and less invested in their physical appearance, reported fewer negative thoughts about their body image, fewer cognitive errors in evaluating their appearance, and worried less about becoming fat. This body image therapy also enhanced self-esteem, decreased social anxiety, and alleviated some depressive symptoms (Grant & Cash, 1995).

One limitation of this study was that it did not involve a no treatment, or "waiting list" condition. However, previous studies have revealed that body image CBT is superior to minimal or no treatment. In addition, these findings do not suggest that a purely self-help model of treatment is as effective as group therapy. The results merely show that the two programs produce the same types of results in relation to negative body image (Grant & Cash, 1995).

B. Group therapy and minimal treatment
Rosen, Saltzberg, and Srebnik (1989) studied the effects of CBT for body image versus minimal treatment (control condition). Subjects were 23 normal weight, body image disturbed women, with no history of eating disorders. Treatment was provided for six weeks in a group therapy format. Patients in the minimal treatment condition followed a pattern of treatment similar to the experimental condition. The difference between the two formats was the absence of structured exercises to specifically deal with altering the pattern of negative cognitive and behavioral strategies. Essentially, minimal treatment was missing the key ingredients that accounts for the efficacy of CBT (Rosen, Saltzberg & Srebnik, 1989).

Rosen, Saltzberg, and Srebnik found that the full treatment of cognitive behavior therapy is "effective in improving body image disturbance in college aged, non-eating disordered women." Patients improved on all three dimensions (perception, cognition, behavior) of body image marked for treatment. Furthermore, patients showed clinically significant improvement in body image satisfaction both at the post treatment and follow-up evaluations. Patients in the minimal treatment demonstrated modest improvements, but the results were not clinically significant (Rosen, Saltzberg & Srebnik, 1989).

This study is limited in its generalizability because its sample consisted of all college-aged women, and the results may not apply to other populations. If the sample size was increased and the duration of treatment extended, then it is possible that these results might be applicable to other groups. Finally, it is uncertain if the disturbance of body image experienced by these women was of clinical significance, and a more comprehensive assessment of subjects is necessary to make the findings more clear (Rosen, Saltzberg & Srebnik, 1989).

Obese patients with negative body image
Rosen and al. (1995) produced one of the first studies that examined CBT for negative body image among obese women. Negative body image is a major concern for many overweight women because obese persons have real, not imagined, weight problems and they often face negative stereotypes. Subjects in this study were 51 obese women randomly assigned to CBT or no treatment. Treatment consisted of eight small group therapy sessions targeting negative behaviors such as overvaluing of physical appearance, continuous body checking, avoidance of situations that induce negative body images, and challenged negative stereotypes of obesity (Rosen et al., 1995).

Rosen and al. found that cognitive behavior body image therapy is an effective treatment for body image disturbance in obese women. In spite of the fact that CBT did not completely eliminate body image dissatisfaction, obese patients improved in body image. In addition, global self esteem improved in all non-clinical subjects. Furthermore, it was shown that improvements in body image were independent of changes in weight, which was the opposite of what many patients expected (they felt if they were more accepting of their obese bodies, they were more likely to gain weight) (Rosen et al., 1995).

This study failed to do a follow-up evaluation longer than four months, so it is not known if the effects of treatment versus no treatment are long-lasting. Rosen et al. might consider attempting to do a longitudinal study, and then they could also evaluate what factors in the environment facilitate or inhibit the success of CBT on obese patients. It would also be helpful if CBT for body image in obese persons was integrated into a weight-loss program (Rosen et al., 1995).

Body dysmorphic disordered patients and negative body image
Rosen, Reiter, and Orosan (1995) focused their research of CBT and body image on subjects with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a "distressing body image disorder that involves excessive preoccupation with physical appearance in a normal appearing person." These researchers provide the first controlled evaluation of cognitive behavior therapy for persons with BDD. Fifty-four subjects with BDD participated in the study, and they were randomly assigned to a treatment or no treatment condition. Patients were divided into small groups for eight therapy sessions, of which the context was similar to other therapies previously described (Rosen, Reiter & Orosan, 1995).

Rosen, Reiter, and Orosan found that cognitive behavior therapy for persons with body dysmorphic disorder proved to be an effective treatment. The majority of patients no longer met the DSM-IV criteria for BDD after completing the therapy. Moreover, global self-esteem improved, and preoccupation with appearance and body dissatisfaction decreased (Rosen, Reiter & Orosan, 1995).

Although the overall results show success for CBT, there were still some patients who had BDD at the follow-up assessment. Rosen, Reiter, and Orosan felt that these patients may have benefited from treatment longer in duration and more individual attention during the therapy sessions. In addition, it is nearly impossible to control what happens outside the clinic and how events may adversely effect treatment (Rosen, Reiter & Orosan, 1995).

Concluding analysis
Cognitive behavior therapy has been proven more effective for groups like weight-preoccupied women, obese women and those with body dysmorphic disorder than for subjects with eating disorders. This is quite possibly the case because body image therapy is only a portion of the psychotherapy for eating-disordered patients, whereas for other groups therapy focuses exclusively on improving body image. Assuming this is true, it is necessary to strengthen body image therapy programs for those with eating disorders so that they are more effective in alleviating body image disturbance. Furthermore, psychotherapists might do more thorough evaluations of body image by pursuing ideas beyond simple weight and shape (Rosen, 1995). Finally, negative body image assessment and treatment could be a key factor to the treatment of eating disorders. Researchers must continue to use results and practices to these studies and apply them to patients with severe eating disorders. By grabbing the root of the problem, a negative body image, it might be easier to succeed in successfully and permanently rehabilitating these patients.


Garner, D.M., (1997). The 1997 body image survey results. Psychology Today, 30, 30- 41.
Grant, J.R., & Cash, T.F., (1995). Cognitive-Behavioral Body Image Therapy: Comparative Efficacy of Group and Modest-Contact Treatments. Behavior Therapy, 26, 69-84. Rosen, J.C., (1995). Body Image Assessment and Treatment in Controlled Studies of Eating Disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 20, 331-343.
Rosen, J.C., Orosan, P., & Reiter, J., (1995). Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Negative Body Image in Obese Women. Behavior Therapy, 26, 25-42.
Rosen, J.C., Reiter, J., & Orosan, P., (1995). Cognitive-Behavioral Body Image Therapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 263-269.
Rosen, J.C., Saltzberg, E., & Srebnik, D., (1989). Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Negative Body Image. Behavior Therapy, 20, 393-404.
Veale, D., Gournay, K., Dryden, W., Boocock, A., Shah, F., Willson, R., & Walburn, J., (1996). Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Cognitive Behavioural Model and Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 34, 717-729.
Stice, E., Hayward, C., Cameron, R., Killen, J., Taylor, B. (2000) Body-image and eating disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents: A longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(3), 438-444.

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Bodily Dissatisfaction by Julianna Yau
The dissatisfaction that many of us have with our bodies is nothing new. We're more than familiar with the twinge of jealousy we feel when we see someone who we believe is more attractive than we are. This dissatisfaction feeds the dieting, cosmetics and fitness industries, which in turn constantly remind us through marketing campaigns that we can feel good about ourselves—but not by recognizing how great we already look. Instead, they encourage self esteem through achieving a different look.

Every skin-and-bones model we see reminds us that, yes, it is possible to attain and maintain a low weight. Every body builder we walk by is proof that it is within human reaches to gain a six-pack and bulging muscles. Cosmetics themselves are a constant statement that we can only achieve "natural beauty" if we cover up (or, as the industry would prefer it, "accentuate") what we really look like. And while it is debatable that these examples are only manifestations of our inherent body dissatisfaction, they also stand to reinforce these potentially damaging beliefs.

If you reflect on our society's view of out bodies and our satisfaction with them, you may stumble upon some grim findings. Although messages of empowerment constantly reiterate that beauty is only skin deep and remind us not to judge a book by its cover, every other aspect of our culture reflects upon the opposite. Advertisements for everything from office supplies to weekend resorts tend to emphasise the appearance of the person in the ad, and what is being sold is almost inconsequential. The entire entertainment industry feeds off of the physical desirability of actors, musicians, models and television personalities, rather than on their talent or skill.

In turn, we give these aspects of our culture positive feedback so that they may continue building the importance of physical appearance. We keep watching the movies and buying the music and posters of all the pretty people. We continue voting for and waiting anxiously for the lists of the sexiest people of the year in magazines targeted to audiences as young as elementary school children. Our craving to see people who fit the desired ideal body shape (which has been co-created by ourselves and the entertainment and aesthetic industries) has reinforced the need for celebrity figures to forever upgrade their bodies for fear of losing their place on the top of the beauty pyramid.

More despairingly, being satisfied with our bodies, and being able to truthfully say that we love our bodies, is viewed predominantly in negative light. To say that we love our bodies is to risk being called a narcissist. If we were to say that we were satisfied with our bodies, people may wonder if society's pressure for us to become synonymous with the ideal body has worn us down to the point that we can no longer aspire to this ideal. Or worse, when making such affirming claims, others may simply assume that we are lying through our imperfect teeth.

Yet if you glance at the self-help shelves at a bookstore, you will see no shortage of books with titles echoing "How to Love Your Body." There are countless seminars and television specials dedicated to empowerment through loving our bodies. It has almost become fashionable to have an antidote about how we used to hate our body, but we are now "at peace" with it.

Then there are the mixed messages coming from industries that profit from the discontent we have with our bodies. Feeding off both our desire to love our bodies and our desire to attain a different body, they show us how we can do both—a dangerous claim indeed. And even the idea of "accepting" our bodies can be destructive. This concept of "acceptance" suggests that we must come to terms with the reality of our bodies' inability to attain the ideal put forth to us. Instead, it would be much healthier to understand that this ideal is not more desirable than the bodies we are born with—a difficult stance to uphold in a culture that revolves around appearances and ideals.

It is not uncommon for women to believe that they are heavier than they really are. The do-I-look-fat-in-this? syndrome has become to entwined in our culture that we no longer recognize that it is a statement reflecting our distorted and uncertain views of our bodies. Instead, we disregard it as small-talk, along with phrases like "does this make my ass look fat?" and "have you lost weight?"

What is more ignored than any of these reflections is that men too can feel dissatisfied with their bodies. While the specific points of dissatisfaction differ between men and women, both genders feel the same pressures from our culture to attain a certain look. For men, this look is the tall, lean yet muscular build. As with eating disorders and the like, concern for our bodies and appearances are assumed as a women-only phenomenon. With few resources to turn to, on top of the cultural taboo of being afflicted by a "woman's problem," those men who silently suffer from bodily dissatisfaction may suffer severely.

We are submerged in a culture where body dissatisfaction is accepted, and the prominent solutions are to change our body instead of realizing the faults in our beliefs that we are not attractive enough. It's no wonder that this dissatisfaction has breed and increased the occurrence of such behaviours as anorexia, bulimia, steroid use, and over exercising.

And while these behaviours have more complex causes than body dissatisfaction alone, they work alongside the belief that bodily perfection and "control" over our appearance will make up for other areas that need improvement: if we look great, ex-lovers will realize their faults in leaving us; if we were thinner, we would have gotten the job; if our faces more attractive, we would get more attention; if we had more muscle tone, we would gain more respect. When we say that beauty is only skin deep, do we also mean that turning our attention to our outer beauty means ignoring the deeper reasons for our self-discontent?

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Adolescent body image suffers from media images of the impossibly thin
Flinders Journal: June 10 - June 23, 2002

The impossibly thin body ideal promoted by television advertising has a generally negative effect on teenage girls, but some are more susceptible to such images than others, according to research conducted by psychologists from Flinders University.

Two experimental studies conducted by researchers from the School of Psychology showed that television advertising featuring idealised thinness negatively affected both the mood and body image of adolescent girls.

Psychology PhD student Mr Duane Hargreaves said that the study was prompted by the fact that the mass media repeatedly equates female beauty and success with a level of thinness that is unattainable for most women.

"Because of this, images presented in the media are often held responsible for the high level of body dissatisfaction in Western society," he said.

"Teenage girls are thought to be particularly susceptible to the media's negative impact, partly due to their high level of media consumption - adolescents spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping."

He said that television advertising in particular emphasised the supposed importance of thinness for women.

Two experimental studies used sample groups of early (13 to 15 year-old) and mid-adolescent (15 to17 year-old) girls who were shown either 20 television commercials containing females who "epitomise the current thin-ideal" or 20 commercials that did not contain these images.

The results showed that, on average, "thin-ideal" television commercials had a negative impact on the girls' moods and body image for both the early and mid-adolescent samples.

However, since not all individuals are equally vulnerable to the negative impact of media, an attempt to identify 'at-risk' groups was undertaken. The research found that while viewing 'thin-ideal' commercials led t

o increased body dissatisfaction for all early adolescent girls (13 to15 year-olds) irrespective of their level of investment in appearance, the results for mid-adolescents (15 to17 year olds) showed that, on average, only girls who strongly invested in their appearance were negatively affected by 'thin-ideal' commercials.

"Overall, the results suggest that television advertising does negatively influence adolescent girls' body image. The studies also point to early adolescent girls being more broadly affected, but indicate that mid-adolescent girls who invest strongly in their appearance are also at greater risk," Mr Hargreaves said.

Mr Hargreaves presented a paper outlining the studies and findings at an international conference on eating disorders in Boston in the US in April. The trip was funded by a Flinders University Research Student Conference Travel Scholarship.

He said the eventual aim of the research is to assist in identifying individuals most at risk. Body dissatisfaction is one of the underlying causes of depression and eating disorders among adolescent girls.

"We hope that the results will enable us to target intervention programs more effectively in terms of both who and when," he said.

Mr Hargreaves is currently engaged in further research to examine the effects of media images on males.

"Adolescent males and men are coming under similar pressures through the increasing promotion of images of muscularity as a desirable norm. I will be attempting to establish if there is a parallel process of heightened body consciousness leading to negative feelings among adolescent and adult males."

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More affluent women dissatisfied with their bodies

By HELEN BRANSWELL -- Canadian Press

TORONTO (CP) -- Living in an affluent neighbourhood seems to make women dislike their bodies.

These women are more likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies -- even if they aren't overweight -- than women from average income or poorer neighbourhoods, a pair of Montreal researchers report in a British medical journal.

They found that the effect held true regardless of income, meaning a woman of average income living in a rich neighbourhood was more likely to share the body image beliefs of the women she lived among than those of women in her income class.

"So it really seems to be an affect of their environment -- like there's something in the environment of wealthy neighbourhoods that's contributing to body dissatisfaction," lead author Lindsay McLaren said Monday.

Whatever that is, it puts pressure on women living in affluent areas to keep up appearances and keep off the pounds, the article suggests.

"It is conceivable that in a wealthier neighbourhood, fashion magazines and diet products are more readily available and affordable, work-out facilities and fashionable clothing stores are more plentiful and popular and perhaps individuals are generally more invested in their bodies and appearance," the article said.

"In such an environment there may emerge a local or 'micro' climate in which appearance investment is the norm."

The article was published Tuesday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. McLaren is a PhD student in public health at the University of Montreal.

Body dissatisfaction is a major risk factor for eating disorders, which are almost unique to affluent, western countries. And while it has long been believed that eating disorders are mainly the domain of well-off individuals, research findings on this have been mixed.

McLaren thinks that's because research into the link between social class and eating disorders has always looked at the individual alone, as opposed to the individual and the setting in which she or he lives.

"I think it's going to make quite a big difference if she's a woman with a lot of money who lives among other women who have a lot of money or if she lives among women who don't have very much money. So it sort of makes sense to bring the environment into it," she explained.

She and her co-author analysed the results of a telephone poll of 895 women, aged 24 to 56 who lived in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Women asked to take part were drawn from census divisions, known as tracts. That gave the researchers advance knowledge about the average income for the neighbourhoods and allowed them to poll women living in low-income, average-income and high-income areas.

Women were asked their income range as well as their height and weight, which the researchers used to calculate each participant's body mass index -- the fat-to-height ratio used to determine if a person has a healthy weight for her frame. Then each woman was asked if she was satisfied with her body or would like to gain or lose weight.

The researchers found a strong link between body dissatisfaction and the affluence of one's home neighbourhood.

Among women who were overweight, those living in rich neighbourhoods seemed most bothered by the fact. They had an 89-per-cent likelihood of reporting body dissatisfaction, versus 82 per cent among women living in average-income areas and 71 per cent among women living in low-income areas.

The findings were more striking, however, among women who did not need to lose weight. Women of a healthy weight who lived in rich areas had a 71-per-cent likelihood of reporting body dissatisfaction, compared to 58 per cent among women living in average-income neighbourhoods and 43 per cent among women living in low-income neighbourhoods.

"Women in wealthier neighbourhoods are more likely to unnecessarily want to lose weight," McLaren said.

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The Media, Body Image,and Eating Disorders

Media images that help to create cultural definitions of beauty and attractiveness are often acknowledged as being among those factors contributing to the rise of eating disorders.

Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a variety of factors, including physical, psychological, interpersonal, and social issues. Media messages screaming “thin is in” may not directly cause eating disorders, but they help to create the context within which people learn to place a value on the size and shape of their body. To the extent that media messages like advertising and celebrity spotlights help our culture define what is beautiful and what is “good,” the media’s power over our development of self-esteem and body image can be incredibly strong.
Some Basic Facts About the Media’s Influence in Our Lives:
According to a recent survey of adolescent girls, the media is their main source of information about women’s health issues (Commonwealth Fund, 1997).

Researchers estimate that 60% of Caucasian middle school girls read at least one fashion magazine regularly (Levine, 1997).

Another study of mass media magazines discovered that women’s magazines had 10.5 times more advertisements and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines did (as cited in Guillen & Barr, 1994).

A study of one teen adolescent magazine over the course of 20 years found that:
All of the articles contained in these magazines included statements highlighting that weight loss would improve appearance.
In articles about fitness or exercise plans, 74% cited “to become more attractive” as a reason to start exercising and 51% noted the need to lose weight or burn calories (Guillen & Barr, 1994).
The average young adolescent watches 3-4 hours of TV per day (Levine, 1997).

A study of 4,294 network television commercials revealed that 1 out of every 3.8 commercials send some sort of “attractiveness message,” telling viewers what is or is not attractive (as cited in Myers et al., 1992). These researchers estimate that the average adolescent sees over 5,260 “attractiveness messages” per year

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Library: MED
Description: Minority women are at a lower risk for bulimia even if they are unhappy with their body size as long as they are not worried about adapting to mainstream American culture, according to a new Florida State University study. (International J. of Eating Disorders, May-2002)

FSU Study Shows Risk of Bulimia Slim Among Some Minority Women

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-Minority women are at a lower risk for bulimia even if they are unhappy with their body size as long as they are not worried about adapting to mainstream American culture, according to a new Florida State University study.

However, minority women who feel a combination of body dissatisfaction and stress about fitting into the mainstream may be more vulnerable to symptoms of bulimia, said Thomas Joiner, the Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology at FSU, who co-wrote the study published in the May issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Joiner his doctoral students Marisol Perez, Zachary Voelz and Jeremy Pettit surveyed 118 black, Hispanic and white female college students to examine the effects of acculturative stress and body dissatisfaction. Perez was the study's lead author.

"The thing that is truly remarkable about the study is that it shows a subgroup of women whose body dissatisfaction is not associated with bulimia," Joiner said, explaining that typically there is a strong correlation between body dissatisfaction and bulimia. "Minority women may be protected as long as they are not actively acculturating."

Acculturating is the process of adapting to a new or dominant culture - in this case, mainstream America - and leaving behind the traditional values associated with a particular ethnic or racial group. One aspect of acculturation may be the adoption of an ideal body image, which American culture deems to be thin.

"For some minority women, while they may be unhappy with their bodies, being thin is just not that high on their list of values; in the dominant mainstream culture, the ideal body is high on the value list," Joiner said. "It just shows how powerful the protective quality associated with many minority groups - strong families and connections to a community - can be."

Bulimia, which is characterized by a cycle of bingeing and purging and a preoccupation with thinness, does not just affect white women, however. For minorities who dislike their bodies and feel stress about adapting to the mainstream, bulimia is more of a threat. Overall, the study found that Hispanics reported the highest levels of acculturative stress, followed by blacks and then whites.

The study may affect the way therapists view eating disorders, Joiner said, noting that women with symptoms of an eating disorder should be assessed regardless of their ethnicity. In addition to traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy, the study said black or Hispanic women who show eating disorder symptoms may benefit from a problem-solving approach designed to reduce stress they may feel as a minority in the workplace or in social settings.

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Previous research indicated that exposure to ultra-thin models in fashion magazines leads to excessive dieting and body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls. Only those girls who already had body-image problems were at risk for negative effects.

Psychologists Eric Stice, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; Diane Spangler, Ph.D., Brigham Young University; and W. Stewart Agras, MD, Stanford University, randomly assigned 219 girls, ages 13 to 17, to a 15-month subscription to Seventeen magazine, which is the most widely read magazine among adolescent females, or to a no-magazine control group and followed the girls for 20 months. Despite the increased amount of time participants spent reading the fashion magazine, there were no effects on body dissatisfaction, thin-ideal internalization, dieting or negative affect over time. The only adverse effect occurred in adolescents with initially elevated body dissatisfaction: Exposure to the fashion magazine resulted in increased negative affect/depression for these adolescents.

"The discrepancy between our study and previous research is largely because we measured the effects in a natural environment," said Dr. Stice. "Previous research that suggested magazine-portrayed, thin-ideal images would lead to eating disorders and low self-esteem among teenage girls consisted of laboratory experiments. This study suggests that the negative effects have little long-term impact."

Because the findings indicate that the only at-risk individuals are those who already have body-image problems, why the continued correlation between magazine models and eating disorders among teenage girls? "Perhaps high-risk individuals seek out thin-ideal media messages to learn more effective weight control techniques," said Dr. Stice.

However, Dr. Stice cautions that previous studies should not be discounted. "Forty-one percent of adolescent females report that magazines are their most important source of information on dieting and health, and 61 percent of adolescent females read at least one fashion magazine regularly," said the authors. "I think the media reflects a larger cultural pressure for an ultra-slender body," said Dr. Stice. "Parents, peers and dating partners may play a somewhat more important role than the mass media because feedback from these sources about body size is more personal."


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Body image & anamorphic micro by
Dr. Patricia Hartley
The importance of body image in the development, diagnosis and management of eating disorders was first highlighted by Hilde Bruch who outlined three aspects of causal significance in anorexia nervosa. These were: 1. a disturbance of delusional proportions in the body image and body concept 2. a disturbance in the accuracy of perception of stimuli arising in the body 3. a paralysing sense of ineffectiveness Since that time, body image distortion and body dissatisfaction have been incorporated into the diagnostic criteria for both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Bruch maintained as early as 1962 that normalisation of body image was a precondition for recovery, noting that anorexic patients may gain weight for a variety of reasons during psychotherapy, but unless this improvement is accompanied by a correction of distorted body image, any positive changes would be short-lived.

Body size distortion has been measured in several prognostic studies of treatment response in anorexia nervosa, the majority showing that more extreme overestimation of body size at the beginning of inpatient treatment predicted less weight gain at discharge. Less information on prognostic factors in the treatment of bulimia nervosa is available, but the existing studies indicate that body image is an important predictor of treatment outcome. Body image has been defined as "the mental picture we have of ourselves". It is part of the normal developmental process and is normally determined between six to ten years. Like any other perceptual experience, it is influenced by many factors, including social and cultural issues and personality traits. As a result, body image includes an evaluative component which is linked to self-esteem. In eating disorders, body dissatisfaction is correlated with self-esteem and body size over-estimation, indicating that successful treatment must address all of these issues, i.e. perceptual, cognitive and behavioural disturbances. Before any treatment plan can be devised, a thorough assessment is essential. Various techniques have been used to measure body image distortion, many requiring equipment that is not only expensive but cumbersome.

Anamorphic Micro has none of these disadvantages and is extremely user-friendly. This software allows the user to easily input computerised photographs of clients/participants. These photographs are then either widened or narrowed along the horizontal axis before being presented in this distorted form to the client/participant. The clients / participants are then able to manipulate the image by either widening or narrowing it to arrive at (a) their estimation of reality, i.e. the way they "see" themselves (b) their preferred body or "ideal", the way they would like to be In this way, clients / participants can be shown all three "images" in parallel, their estimated or subjective body image, their desired or "ideal" body and the objective image from the computerised photograph. These images can be printed out for use both by the client / participant and the clinician / researcher. In addition to these baseline measures as part of the over-all assessment procedure, data from other diagnostic procedures may be incorporated.

Clinicians and researchers may wish to measure several relevant dimensions, using the wide range of assessment tools available in the field of eating disorders. In this way, Anamorphic Micro provides a quick and easy way of obtaining a "profile" of individual clients, involving for example, body image data, self-esteem scores, anxiety and depression levels and any other tests for co-morbidity which the clinician / researcher may wish to use. Furthermore, demographic details may also be combined with data from the various test results, allowing instant access to global information. Anamorphic Micro represents a significant breakthrough in body image treatment and research. It allows the client / participant to establish existing body image, to correct the screen image to their "ideal" size and to gain visual feedback in relation to body image distortion. The software also allows clinicians / researchers to assess the extent of body image distortion, measure levels of body dissatisfaction, incorporate results from additional assessment procedures and combine these in a data base which includes other demographic details. It is proving to be a valuable asset to existing research instruments and techniques.

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7 March 2002

A large percentage of men are dissatisfied with their bodies according to preliminary research conducted at the University of Melbourne.

Behavioural science researchers, Ms Helen Fawkner and Dr Nancy McMurray are discovering that while women are traditionally the focus of studies into body image, men of all ages are also experiencing dissatisfaction with their physical appearance.

"We are investigating how men think and feel about their bodies and how these thoughts and feelings contribute to their health and lifestyle," Ms Fawkner said.

"Our preliminary research has uncovered that many men are concerned with their body image to the degree that it has an adverse effect on their psychological and physical health and well-being."

The two researchers are hoping to identify the types of men who may be at-risk of engaging in negative health behaviours so that they can develop appropriate educational interventions and public health strategies.

More men, particularly those over the age of 40, are required to assist the research by filling in a questionnaire.

The questionnaire takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and all responses are completely anonymous and confidential.

Those interested in assisting with the research can obtain a copy of the questionnaire by emailing or phoning (03) 8344 6374. A summary of the results will be available by request at completion.

For more information contact Ms Helen Fawkner on (03) 8344 6374 or Dr Nancy McMurray on (03) 8344 6366.

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