Friday, May 12, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.
Neville Scarfe (Library Block), Room 278
Research Supervisor: Dr. Rhea Owens
Committee Members: Dr. Dan Cox and Dr. Jennifer Shapka
Title: Evaluating Free To Be: A Positive Body Image Program for Adolescents
The majority of research, theory, and practice around body image tends to focus on understanding and preventing negative body image in girls and women. Accordingly, body image programs have been developed for adolescents that aim to decrease negative predictive factors for negative body image. However, such interventions have inconsistently reduced body dissatisfaction, a core predictive factor for developing eating disorders. An exclusive focus on reducing pathology neglects those who experience neutral or healthy body image. Alternatively, programs developed from a positive psychology lens aim to promote and increase positive body image characteristics that nurture and maintain healthy functioning, irrespective of the participant’s initial level of body image. Thus, the objective of the present study was to develop and evaluate a new positive body image program, Free To Be, for promoting positive predictive factors for positive body image in adolescent boys and girls. Grade seven participants (N= 76) from a public middle school participated in a six-session, 55-minute body image program. Participants completed assessments related to factors associated with body image before and after the program. Results revealed at post-test, positive body image, body image coping strategies, and media literacy increased significantly for both boys and girls. Body dissatisfaction decreased significantly for both boys and girls. Implications for teachers, clinicians, and researchers are discussed.