Improving body image in an idealised media culture: community solutions and positive body image interventions

DClinPsych Thesis

Samuelson, M. 2021. Improving body image in an idealised media culture: community solutions and positive body image interventions. DClinPsych Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Institute of Applied Psychology
AuthorsSamuelson, M.
TypeDClinPsych Thesis
Qualification nameDoctorate of Clinical Psychology

Section A: This section provides a systematic review of the emerging research base into promoting positive body image in the context of western idealised media. The findings suggest that strategies such as changing the media presented to rely less on a thin-ideal, media literacy training, and encouraging a focus on body functionality have the potential to promote positive body image and protect it from the impacts of idealised media exposure. Methodological limitations are examined, indicating only tentative conclusions about the differential processes by which the media impact on positive body image can be disrupted by interventions. Several areas for further research are highlighted, including exploring the relationship between social media and positive body image.

Section B: This section explores how women familiar with body positive social media understand their engagement with it and any impacts they have noticed. Eight women were interviewed about their experiences of engaging regularly with body positive social media and the results analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Four core themes emerged, encompassing each woman’s unique journey through developing an understanding of the meaning of body positivity, and using social media to connect with people, ideas and activism, whilst slowly internalising new values to develop their relationships to themselves and their bodies. The impacts of these journeys are summarised as enabling them to live in alignment with their values and experience self-acceptance.

Implications for the emerging research base into body positive social media and incorporating these benefits into clinical practice are discussed.

KeywordsImproving body image; Media culture; Interventions
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Deposited13 Aug 2021
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