Challenging the Thin Ideal

Approximately 50-70% of adolescent girls report feeling dissatisfied with their body. This dissatisfaction has been associated with a number of negative consequences including increased negative affect, decreased physical activity, and eating disorders. Exposure to media portraying the thin ideal of beauty has emerged as a cause of body dissatisfaction.

Cognitive dissonance (CD) interventions have shown promising results in treating body dissatisfaction in adolescents and women over age 14. However, despite evidence that internalization of the thin ideal and body dissatisfaction occurs in girls 7-11 years old, no previous research has examined the effectiveness of CD interventions in early adolescence. A new study published in Health Psychology by Halliwell et al (2014) explores this issue.