Improving Body Satisfaction: Do Strategies Targeting the Automatic System Work?

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Feelings of body dissatisfaction are common in Western society, especially in women and girls. More than innocent discontent, body dissatisfaction can have serious consequences such as depression and eating disorders. The current article discusses the nature of body dissatisfaction, how it develops and how it is currently being treated. We also discuss novel strategies to increase body satisfaction that work on the automatic system (e.g., by retraining attentional and conditioning processes), since recent research suggests that appearance-related information is processed automatically. We suggest that extant methods should be combined with these novel strategies, in order to optimally improve body dissatisfaction and to prevent its detrimental consequences.

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