A meta-analytic review of stand-alone interventions to improve body image

Alleva, Jessica M, Sheeran, Paschal, Webb, Thomas L, Martijn, Carolien and Miles, Eleanor (2015) A meta-analytic review of stand-alone interventions to improve body image. PLoS ONE, 10 (9). e0139177. ISSN 1932-6203

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Numerous stand-alone interventions to improve body image have been developed. The
present review used meta-analysis to estimate the effectiveness of such interventions, and
to identify the specific change techniques that lead to improvement in body image.

The inclusion criteria were that (a) the intervention was stand-alone (i.e., solely focused on
improving body image), (b) a control group was used, (c) participants were randomly
assigned to conditions, and (d) at least one pretest and one posttest measure of body
image was taken. Effect sizes were meta-analysed and moderator analyses were conducted.
A taxonomy of 48 change techniques used in interventions targeted at body image
was developed; all interventions were coded using this taxonomy.

The literature search identified 62 tests of interventions (N = 3,846). Interventions produced
a small-to-medium improvement in body image (d+ = 0.38), a small-to-medium reduction in
beauty ideal internalisation (d+ = -0.37), and a large reduction in social comparison tendencies
(d+ = -0.72). However, the effect size for body image was inflated by bias both within
and across studies, and was reliable but of small magnitude once corrections for bias were
applied. Effect sizes for the other outcomes were no longer reliable once corrections for
bias were applied. Several features of the sample, intervention, and methodology moderated
intervention effects. Twelve change techniques were associated with improvements in
body image, and three techniques were contra-indicated.

The findings show that interventions engender only small improvements in body image, and
underline the need for large-scale, high-quality trials in this area. The review identifies effective
techniques that could be deployed in future interventions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Eleanor Miles
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 12:51
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2018 11:05
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57500

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