Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Sona Dimidjian

Second Advisor

Dr. Roselinde Kaiser

Third Advisor

Dr. Liane Pedersen Gallegos

Abstract

The Body Project is an evidence-based eating disorder prevention program. The program targets fat talk, the self-deprecating communication about one’s dissatisfaction with one’s weight and shape. Fat talk, family fat talk, and concern about one’s weight are all correlated with body image disturbances and contribute to eating disorder development, especially in adolescent girls. Despite this, there is a gap in the research that evaluates the extent to which the Body Project intervention impacts fat talk frequency. In the current study, we predicted that fat talk frequency, family fat talk frequency, and weight concern would all significantly decrease from baseline to post-interventionamong high school-aged girls who participated in the peer-led Body Project. Results were consistent with the hypotheses, demonstrating that the Body Project is associated with decreases in fat talk and weight concern among participants, and in participant perceptions of their families. This suggests the possible evidence of social diffusion amongthis intervention, as the decrease in fat talk frequency reached beyond the participants of the Body Project. Future studies should aim to investigate which aspects of the Body Project are most effective at decreasing fat talk frequency, the extent to which changes in fat talk mediate improvements in disordered eating risk, and the extent to which decreases extend in school communication beyond participants involved in the Body Project (i.e. other members of student body).

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