Expressive Writing Effects on Body Image: Symptomatic versus Asymptomatic Women


This study investigated the effects of expressive writing on body image of women varying in eating disorder symptomatology. Ninety-two female undergraduates were randomly assigned to the writing topic conditions: traumatic events, body image, and room description. At three times (before, immediately after, and one month after the two-week intervention), participants selected from among nine figures (a) the figure deemed closest to their current figure, (b) the figure deemed closest to the ideal figure, and (c) the figure deemed closest to the figure that men prefer. The current figure ratings decreased after the writing intervention for the high-symptom group but not the low-symptom group. The ideal and male-preferred figure ratings were not affected by the intervention and did not differ between the symptom level groups. Based on the first finding, writing may improve body image perceptions in women with an already distorted body image.

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Lafont, J. & Oberle, C. (2014). Expressive Writing Effects on Body Image: Symptomatic versus Asymptomatic Women. Psychology, 5, 431-440. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.55053.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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