Objective: Many women show weight and body concerns that leave them vulnerable to body dissatisfaction, lowered self-esteem, psychological distress, and eating disorders. This study tested whether body satisfaction could be increased by means of evaluative conditioning. Design: In the experimental condition (n = 26), women with low and high body concern completed a conditioning procedure in which pictures of their bodies were selectively linked to positive social stimuli (pictures of smiling faces). Pictures of control bodies were linked to neutral or negative social stimuli (neutral and frowning faces). In a control condition (n = 28), low and high body concerned women underwent a procedure in which pictures of their own body and of control bodies were randomly followed by positive, neutral, and negative social stimuli. Main Outcome Measures: Changes in body satisfaction and self-esteem before and after the conditioning task. Results: Women with high body concern demonstrated an increase in body satisfaction and global self-esteem when pictorial representations of their own bodies were associated with positive stimuli that signaled social acceptance. Conclusion: A simple conditioning procedure increased body satisfaction in healthy, normal weight women who were concerned about their shape and weight.

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doi.org/10.1037/a0020770, hdl.handle.net/1765/64894
Health Psychology
Department of Psychology

Martijn, C, Vanderlinden, M, Roefs, A, Huijding, J, & Jansen, A.T.M. (2010). Increasing Body Satisfaction of Body Concerned Women Through Evaluative Conditioning Using Social Stimuli. Health Psychology, 29(5), 514–520. doi:10.1037/a0020770