Promoting positive body image among university students: A collaborative pilot study
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The purpose of the present study was to pilot a prevention program designed to promote positive body image among university students. Thirty-seven undergraduate students from three Canadian universities were recruited to participate in the study. They were selected from a pool of students enrolled in a peer health education program facilitated by the university-based health promotion staff. Borrowing from the tenets of the non-specific vulnerability stressor model and the disease-specific social cognitive theory, the intervention focused on media literacy, self-esteem enhancement strategies, stress management skills and ways to recognize healthy versus unhealthy relationships. Separate ANOVAs revealed that participants reported significant improvements in body satisfaction and reductions in the internalization of media stereotypes between the baseline and post-program period. The program received a favorable response from the participating students, who appreciated the face-to-face format of the intervention, and from the university staff who expressed interest in embedding the strategies into their routine peer mentoring training activities. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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