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Friday, March 6
 

10:45am

A feminist exploration of facilitator and participant responses to a course in mindful eating
Mindfulness practices have made their way into mainstream, empirically supported approaches to pain, depression, substance use, and anxiety, following an enormous amount of research by Jon Kabat-Zinn (2013) and others, and some (e.g., Kristeller & Wolever, 2011) have begun studying mindfulness for eating-related issues. Mindful eating is an approach to food that does not focus on weight but rather proposes that thorough meditative practices that encourage acceptance, as well as awareness regarding hunger, satiety, and emotions, people will learn to eat from internally-derived wisdom that ultimately is sustainable and satisfying (Chozen Bays, 2009). It has been included in size acceptance, non-deprivation models used with women struggling with food and weight (Abakoui & Simmons, 2013). Even as many women know that the food and diet industries promote an indulgence/deprivation mentality, that diets rarely work for long, and that health is not necessarily dependent on weight, they may still feel caught in a painful cycle of over-eating, deprivation, and self-recrimination. Many clients seek therapy for help with weight even when they do not have an eating disorder; therapists who reject a diet approach can find themselves in a dilemma about how to help. Furthermore, given that many clinicians and clients are socialized in mainstream culture’s thin idealization, biases can arise even in the context of a non-diet approach. This presentation uses a feminist lens regarding size acceptance and “health at any size” (e.g., Abakoui & Simmons, 2013) to bring awareness to some of the potential benefits and pitfalls of a mindfulness approach to food and body. Using our experiences providing an 8-week course in mindful eating, as well as the data from participants, we hope to further awareness and debate regarding issues of bias and treatment with women struggling with their bodies and weight.


Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm
Nevada

10:45am

Does awareness breed contempt?: Self-consciousness, social comparison, and mindfulness as mediators between self-discrepancies and body satisfaction
A vast majority of girls/women are dissatisfied with their bodies, which can lead to serious physical and psychological issues (Holmqvist & Frisen, 2010; Myers & Crowther, 2009). Body satisfaction is an affective response to the cognitive evaluation of the difference between women’s perceived body shape and their ideals (i.e. body image discrepancy) (Cafri, van den Berg, & Brannick, 2010). However, a woman’s awareness that her body does not conform to an ideal does not necessarily mean that she will dislike herself. Several cognitive factors may intercede in this process. Public self-consciousness reflects excessive, focused attention and concern about being evaluated by others, particularly with regards to appearance (Theron, Nel, & Lubbe, 1991). Social comparison is a reflexive, evaluative process that is inherently related to perceived body discrepancies and predicts body dissatisfaction (e.g., McIntyre & Eisenstadt, 2011). Mindfulness, which includes an awareness of internal states without judgment, is negatively related to social comparison (Langer, Pirson, & Delizonna, 2010) and may have a protective effect on body satisfaction (e.g., Fink, Foran, Sweeney, & O’Hea, 2009). Therefore, the goal of the current study was to examine these factors as possible mediators between body discrepancies and body satisfaction. Female college students (N = 469) completed a battery of measures couched within a study of “marketing strategies and consumer behavior.” SEM analyses showed that social comparison, self-consciousness, and two of the five mindfulness dimensions (“describing inner experiences,” “non-judgment of experiences or reactions”) were significant mediators between the cognitive assessment of self-discrepancy and the affective consequence of body satisfaction (model R2 = .44) in predicted directions. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for understanding these social-cognitive processes that can most significantly and directly affect body satisfaction.


Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm
Nevada

10:45am

Loving “real” women: The effects of viewing thin vs. “plus-sized” models on body satisfaction and anti-fat bias
Mass media reinforce the cultural message of an unrealistically thin body ideal for women (e.g., Tiggemann & Polivy, 2010), which negatively affects their body image (e.g., Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008). Williamson (1996) argued that visual cues activate body-relevant schemas, affecting evaluations. However, not all women are affected equally because meaning is derived from how they perceive and interpret such messages based upon situation-specific judgments (Bessenoff, 2006; Paquette & Raine, 2004) and internalized beliefs/attitudes (e.g., social comparisons: Tiggemann & Polivy, 2010; thin ideal internalization, Dittmar & Howard, 2004). Women experience decreases in body satisfaction after viewing idealized images (Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002) and anti-fat bias is related to media portrayals of women (Lin & Reid, 2009). However, these findings are less consistent when viewing overweight models, and anti-fat bias changes were never experimentally tested. Furthermore, researchers typically use models rated as “extremely” thin or obese and women only rate the models on appearance. No one has accounted for the potential confound between the models’ thinness and attractiveness. It is critical to examine the effects of observing media images, as well as cognitive processes and beliefs that could explain effects. This is the first experimental study to assess all of these variables and to evaluate their predictive value of changes in satisfaction and anti-fat bias after media exposure. Presenting women with images of “thin” OR “overweight” models and having them rate models on appearance OR non-appearance factors, we addressed the distinction between thinness and attractiveness (i.e. models rated as equally sexy and attractive). Additionally, viewing thin models reduced body satisfaction, while viewing overweight models increased body satisfaction and reduced anti-fat biases. Only body image discrepancy predicted changes after media exposure, however, long-standing beliefs predict pre-existing body satisfaction and anti-fat attitudes.


Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm
Nevada

10:45am

“I feel so fat”: The relationship between close friend’s negative body talk and women’s body image
Short Abstract: Our study examined how close female friends’ negative body talk was related to women’s body image. We found that female friend negative’s negative body talk was related to women’s body ideals and women’s own negative body talk. These relationships differed for thin and overweight women. Long Abstract: Our study examined how hearing close female friends talk negatively about their bodies was related to negative body talk and body ideals in thin and overweight women. Research has found that women frequently engage in negative body talk and that this type of conversation increases women’s body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness (Arroyo & Harwood 2012). These studies have typically operationalized negative body talk by having a confederate engage in negative talk in front of participants (Salk & Engeln-Maddox 2012). However, no studies have examined the degree to which women are exposed to negative body talk from their close female friends. Additionally, little research has examined whether the impact of negative body talk differs for thin versus heavy women. Results indicated that women perceive their close friends as engaging in negative body talk much more frequently then they themselves engaged in this talk (M = 2.70, SD = .92 vs. M = 3.70, SD = .92; t(142) = 11.05, p < .000). In addition, the more women heard their close female friends engage in negative body talk, the more likely they were to do so themselves (r = .31, p < .000), but that the relationship was much stronger for thin women (r=.46) than heavy women (r =.15; z = 3.24, p = .001). Results also indicated that the more heavy women heard close female friends fat talk, the thinner they rated their ideal size (r = .39), but this effect was not found for thin women (r = .15, z =2.44, p =.015). The results indicate that women report frequently hearing close friends talk negatively about their bodies and that this type of conversation is related to different outcomes in thin versus overweight women. References Arroyo, A., & Harwood, J. (2012). Exploring the causes and consequences of engaging in fat talk. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 40(2), 167-187. Salk, R.H., & Engeln-Maddox, R. (2012). Fat talk among college women is both contagious and harmful. Sex Roles, 66(9-10), 636-645.


Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm
Nevada