A Body Image and Disordered Eating Intervention for Women in Midlife: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective: This study examined the outcome of a body image and disordered eating intervention for midlife women. The intervention was specifically designed to address risk factors that are pertinent in midlife. Method: Participants were 61 women aged 30 to 60 years (M = 43.92, SD = 8.22) randomly assigned to intervention (n = 32) or (delayed treatment) control (n = 29) groups. Following an 8-session facilitated group cognitive behavioral therapy-based intervention, outcomes from the Body Shape Questionnaire; Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire; Body Image Avoidance Questionnaire; Physical Appearance Comparison Scale; Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Scale, Internalization subscale; measures of appearance importance, cognitive reappraisal, and self-care; Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire; and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale were compared for statistical and clinical significance from baseline to posttest and 6-month follow-up. Results: Following the intent-to-treat principle, mixed-model analyses with a mixed within–between design demonstrated that the intervention group had large improvements that were statistically significantly different from the control group in body image, disordered eating, and risk factor variables and that were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Furthermore, the improvements were also of clinical importance. Conclusions: This study provides support for the efficacy of an intervention to reduce body image and eating concerns in midlife women. Further research into interventions tailored for this population is warranted.

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