Does Yoga Help College-Aged Women with Body-Image Dissatisfaction Feel Better About Their Bodies?
- 695 Downloads
A majority of U.S. college-aged women experience body-image dissatisfaction, which puts them at heightened risk for the development of an eating disorder. However, evidence-based psychological interventions for body-image dissatisfaction in this population are not broadly available due to the limited number of trained counselors. We evaluated the efficacy of yoga as a novel treatment for body-image dissatisfaction in otherwise healthy U.S. college-aged women. Female participants between the ages of 18–30 were randomly assigned to twice weekly yoga classes for 12 weeks or to a wait-listed control condition. Compared to participants in the control condition, participants in the yoga condition reported significantly greater improvements in appearance evaluation and satisfaction with specific body areas at post-test. Participants in the yoga condition also reported larger reductions in the amount of time and energy spent preoccupied with their appearance. The results of the current study suggest that yoga, which is widely available across the country, could help college-aged women develop healthier relationships with their bodies. Health professionals and college administrators may want to encourage young women with body-image dissatisfaction to practice yoga in order to improve their self-image.
KeywordsBody image Yoga College students Human females
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The research was approved by the University of Florida IRB, and all procedures were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the IRB and the 1964 Helsinki Declaration.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.
Conflict of Interest
There are no conflicts of interest to declare.
- Becker, C. B., Perez, M., Kilpela, L. S., Diedrichs, P. C., Trujillo, E., & Stice, E. (2017). Engaging stakeholder communities as body image intervention partners: The Body Project as a case example. Eating Behaviors, 25, 62–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.03.015.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Chrisler, J. C., & Johnston-Robledo, I. (2017). Woman's embodied self: Feminist perspectives on identity and image. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Corson, P. W., & Anderson, A. E. (2002). Body image issues among boys and men. In T. F. Cash & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice (pp. 192–199). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Dakanalis, A., Timko, A., Serino, S., Riva, G., Clerici, M., & Carrà, G. (2016). Prospective psychosocial predictors of onset and cessation of eating pathology amongst college women. European Eating Disorders Review, 24(3), 251–256. https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2433.
- Delaney, K., & Anthis, K. (2010). Is women's participation in different types of yoga classes associated with different levels of body awareness satisfaction? International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 1(1), 62–71. https://doi.org/10.17761/ijyt.20.1.t44l6656h22735g6.Google Scholar
- Dijkstra, P., & Barelds, D. P. (2011). Examining a model of dispositional mindfulness, body comparison, and body satisfaction. Body Image, 8(4), 419–422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.05.007.
- Durkin, S. J., Paxton, S. J., & Sorbello, M. (2007). An integrative model of the impact of exposure to idealized female images on adolescent girls’ body satisfaction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37(5), 1092–1117. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2007.00201.x.
- Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T. A. (1997). Objectification theory: Toward understanding women's lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(2), 173–206. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1997.tb00108.x.
- Germer, C. (2004). What is mindfulness? Insight Journal, 22, 24–29. Retrieved from http://www.drtheresalavoie.com/userfiles/253125/file/insight_germermindfulness.pdf.
- Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460–476. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460.
- Hafner-Holter, S., Kopp, M., & Guenther, V. (2008). Klinik, diagnostik, therapie und rehabilitation: Organ der gesellschaft osterreichischer nervenarzte und psychiater. Neuropsychiatrie [Effects of fitness training and yoga on well-being stress, social competence and body image], 23(4), 244–248. https://doi.org/10.5414/nepband23244.
- Harris, P. A., Taylor, R., Thielke, R., Payne, J., Gonzalez, N., & Conde, J. G. (2009). Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap)—a metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 42(2), 377–381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2008.08.010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jarry, J. L., & Ip, K. (2005). The effectiveness of stand-alone cognitive-behavioural therapy for body image: A meta-analysis. Body Image, 2(4), 317–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.10.001.
- Kilpela, L. S., Hill, K., Kelly, M. C., Elmquist, J., Ottoson, P., Keith, D., … Becker, C. B. (2014). Reducing eating disorder risk factors: A controlled investigation of a blended task-shifting/train-the-trainer approach to dissemination and implementation. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 63, 70–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2014.09.005.
- Klein, J., & Cook-Cottone, C. (2013). The effects of yoga on eating disorder symptoms and correlates: A review. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 23(2), 41–50. Retrieved from http://iaytjournals.org/doi/abs/10.17761/ijyt.23.2.2718421234k31854?code=iayt-site.Google Scholar
- Koslowsky, M., Scheinberg, Z., Bleich, A., Mark, M., Apter, A., Danon, Y., … Solomon, Z. (1992). The factor structure and criterion validity of the short form of the Eating Attitudes Test. Journal of Personality Assessment, 58(1), 27–35. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa5801_3.
- McIver, S., McGartland, M., & O'Halloran, P. (2009). “Overeating is not about the food”: Women describe their experience of a yoga treatment program for binge eating. Qualitative Health Research, 19(9), 1234–1245. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732309343954.
- Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2014). Yoga and eating disorders: Is there a place for yoga in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours? Advances in Eating Disorders: Theory, Research and Practice, 2(2), 136–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/21662630.2013.862369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Neumark-Sztainer, D., Eisenberg, M. E., Wall, M., & Loth, K. A. (2011). Yoga and pilates: Associations with body image and disordered-eating behaviors in a population-based sample of young adults. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(3), 276–280. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.20858.
- Ospina, M. B., Bond, K., Karkhaneh, M., Tjosvold, L., Vandermeer, B., Liang, Y., … Klassen, T. P. (2007). Meditation practices for health: State of the research. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, 155(1), 1–263. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0307.
- Park, T., Reilly-Spong, M., & Gross, C. R. (2013). Mindfulness: A systematic review of instruments to measure an emergent patient-reported outcome (PRO). Quality of Life Research, 22(10), 2639–2659. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-013-0395-8.
- Pilkington, K., Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., & Richardson, J. (2005). Yoga for depression: The research evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 89(1), 13–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2005.08.013.
- Puccio, F., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Ong, D., & Krug, I. (2016). A systematic review and meta- analysis on the longitudinal relationship between eating pathology and depression. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(5), 439–454. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.22506.
- Runfola, C. D., Von Holle, A., Trace, S. E., Brownley, K. A., Hofmeier, S. M., Gagne, D. A., … Bulik, C. M. (2013). Body dissatisfaction in women across the lifespan: Results of the UNC-SELF and gender and body image (GABI) studies. European Eating Disorders Review, 21(1), 52–59. https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2201.
- Salmon, P., Lush, E., Jablonski, M., & Sephton, S. E. (2009). Yoga and mindfulness: Clinical aspects of an ancient mind/body practice. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16(1), 59–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2008.07.002.
- Sarwer, D. B., Cash, T. F., Magee, L., Williams, E. F., Thompson, J. K., Roehrig, M., … Anderson, D. A. (2005). Female college students and cosmetic surgery: An investigation of experiences, attitudes, and body image. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 115(3), 931–938. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.PRS.0000153204.37065.D3.
- Serwacki, M., & Cook-Cottone, C. (2012). Yoga in the schools: A systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 22(1), 101–110. Retrieved from http://www.iaytjournals.org/doi/abs/10.17761/ijyt.22.1.7716244t75u4l702?code=iayt-site.Google Scholar
- Sherman, K. J. (2012). Guidelines for developing yoga interventions for randomized trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/143271.
- Stewart, T. M. (2004). Light on body image treatment acceptance through mindfulness. Behavior Modification, 28(6), 783–811. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145445503259862.
- Stice, E., & Bearman, S. K. (2001). Body-image and eating disturbances prospectively predict increases in depressive symptoms in adolescent girls: A growth curve analysis. Developmental Psychology, 37(5), 597–607. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1622.214.171.1247.
- Stice, E., & Shaw, H. E. (2002). Role of body dissatisfaction in the onset and maintenance of eating pathology: A synthesis of research findings. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 53(5), 985–993. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00488-9.
- Stice, E., Butryn, M. L., Rohde, P., Shaw, H., & Marti, C. N. (2013). An effectiveness trial of a new enhanced dissonance eating disorder prevention program among female college students. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(12), 862–871. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2013.10.003.
- Storch, E. A., Roberti, J. W., & Roth, D. A. (2004). Factor structure, concurrent validity, and internal consistency of the Beck Depression Inventory—Second Edition in a sample of college students. Depression and Anxiety, 19(3), 187–189. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20002.
- van Puymbroeck, M., Schmid, A., Shinew, K. J., & Hsieh, P. C. (2011). Influence of Hatha yoga on physical activity constraints, physical fitness, and body image of breast cancer survivors: A pilot study. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 21(1), 49–60. https://doi.org/10.17761/ijyt.21.1.n852143rv21x188u.
- Walach, H., Buchheld, N., Buttenmuller, V., Kleinknecht, N., & Schmidt, S. (2006). Measuring mindfulness – The Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1543–1555. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.11.025.