Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Billy A. Barrios

Second Advisor

David Hargrove

Third Advisor

Donald E. Jackson

Relational Format



A disturbance in body image has long been implicated in the development and maintenance of a variety of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Recently, the role of feedback in the reduction of a disturbance in body image has received increased attention with the suggestion that a combination of experimenter-provided accuracy feedback plus self-directed practice may be a powerful element in the reduction of such a disturbance.

This study provides an examination of the role of self-directed practice and feedback in altering a disturbance in body image. Forty-eight women suffering from body image dysphoria participated in a three-part procedure consisting of two assessment sessions of body image disturbance separated by a manipulation session. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three conditions for the manipulation session: experimenter- provided feedback plus self-directed practice and feedback, experimenter-provided feedback, or no-feedback control. Following the second assessment session of body image disturbance, a novel or generalization body image assessment task was administered.

A multivariate analysis of variance was performed on five primary dependent measures of body image\ disturbance as well as separate univariate analyses and planned comparisons. Results indicate that those subjects receiving accuracy feedback reported significant or marginal reductions in a disturbance in body image over those subjects receiving no feedback. Subjects receiving feedback also reported greater generalization effects of a reduction in body image disturbance than control subjects.

Contrary to expectations, the two groups receiving feedback did not differ from one another on the five primary dependent measures or the five generalization measures. It was hypothesized that those subjects provided with feedback as well as given an opportunity to provide themselves with feedback would outperform those receiving experimenter-provided feedback alone. Suggestions are offered for this discrepancy along with directions for future research possibilities.



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