17 May 2012
Researching our body image
An RMIT University researcher is investigating body image satisfaction in men and women.
Psychology researcher Amanda Cvetanovski said the prevalence of body image dissatisfaction had increased dramatically in recent years and many adults were experiencing problems in maintaining a healthy body image and accepting their bodies.
Ms Cvetanovski said individuals with body image dissatisfaction had increased risk of experiencing low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, and a greater avoidance of activities and situations because of their dislike, or discomfort in their body.
She said body image dissatisfaction could lead to several health problems including negative psychological consequences.
"While some options for improving your body image exist for adults, few are readily available for individuals who do not suffer from an eating disorder and there are even fewer results in sustained body image satisfaction," Ms Cvetanovski said.
The eight-week study involves regular two-hour group sessions and aims to evaluate:
- The effectiveness of two group programs for improving body image satisfaction.
- Any improvement in self-esteem, self-compassion, and mindfulness.
- Any decrease in body image avoidance and discomfort associated with thinking about one's body.
Ms Cvetanovski said the group programs would focus on building skills to use in everyday life that focus on the physical, social, cognitive and emotional aspects of body image satisfaction.
"The aim is to increase participants' knowledge and skills in each of these areas so that they are better able to accept their bodies and improve their satisfaction with their bodies," she said.
"The results will help in the further development of programs to prevent and promote a positive body image in the wider community."
Forty volunteers aged 18 to 65, male and female, are needed. Email for more information or to take part in the study.