Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Jennifer Ma

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Rates of dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders are continuing to rise in the United States. Many factors influence decisions to engage in problematic eating, including body satisfaction and self-esteem. This paper outlines two studies that examined these relationships and proposed an intervention to reduce disordered eating. In the first study participants were primed to think about a time when they had negative thoughts about their intelligence, their body, or their sexual self-esteem and then measured body image avoidance, self-esteem, sexual self-esteem, disordered eating behaviors, well-being, and depressive symptoms. Consistent with previous research, it was found that having participants recall a moment when they felt negatively toward their body predicted an increase in scores of disordered eating behaviors. Both direct and indirect relationships between body image avoidance, depressive symptoms, and well-being were also found. The second study proposed a 6-month acceptance and commitment therapeutic intervention that includes a control group, a group that adds a focus on body image and health, and a group that adds a focus on sexual self-esteem. This study will measure the same variables as the first study four times: pre-intervention, post-intervention, 1 year after the intervention, and 5 years later. It is expected that the body image and sexual self-esteem intervention groups will improve on all measures more than the control group over time. This research is expected to inform therapeutic practices and interventions for people with disordered eating to prevent the onset of eating disorders.