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A Pilot Study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Workshop Intervention for Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Attitudes
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Body image dissatisfaction is a source of significant distress among non-eating-disordered women, but because it is subclinical it is generally not treated. It remains stable throughout adulthood, and has proven resistant to many prevention interventions. This study presents a pilot test of a practical alternative: a 1-day Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workshop targeting body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes. Women with body dissatisfaction (N = 73) were randomly assigned to the workshop or to a wait list. Participants in both conditions also completed appetite awareness self monitoring of hunger and satiety. After a brief 2-week follow-up, wait-list participants were also offered the workshop. Eating attitudes, body anxiety, and preoccupation with eating, weight, and shape improved in both arms of the study following the workshop. Participants in the ACT group showed significant reductions in body-related anxiety and significant increases in acceptance when compared to the wait-list control condition. ACT presented as a brief workshop intervention may be applicable for a broad range of women experiencing disordered eating attitudes and distress related to eating and body image; however, larger studies with longer follow-ups are needed.