City Research Online

Our bodies: a mixed methods study of an internet-based body image intervention using feminist theory to enhance positive body image

Szmigielska, E. (2018). Our bodies: a mixed methods study of an internet-based body image intervention using feminist theory to enhance positive body image. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Aims: The aim of the current study is to investigate the usefulness of an internet based positive body image intervention for women which incorporates feminist ideas and media literacy. This novel study will be an initial trial with a non-clinical population of women looking to learn about body image in order to evaluate if it is feasible as an intervention to improve body image in this format.

Methods: The present study employed a sequential mixed methods prepost within groups online intervention outcomes study design, whereby quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis were sequentially undertaken. Phase 1: collected baseline questionnaire data online to screen for eligible participants (N=95), and then measure their level of body dissatisfaction, body appreciation and body anxiety. After 24 hours, Phase 2 commenced: participants received a link to an online psycho-educational intervention (an educational programme of 60-minutes duration), after which they immediately completed (N=80, drop out rate 15.79%) post-intervention questionnaire measures. In Phase 3: semi structured follow-up interviews were conducted with a subsample of the intervention participants (N=4) to gather their feedback on the strengths and limitations of the online intervention. Results: Paired t-test results comparing pre and post scores on the three main measures showed a significant decrease in scores on a body dissatisfaction measure, PFRS (t(79)=9.554, p<.001); a significant increase on a body appreciation measure, BAS (t(79)=-11.464, p<.001); and a significant decrease on a body anxiety measure, SPAS (t(79)= 8.833, p<.001). The thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews showed four 13 emergent themes: focus on girls and teenagers, media influence and literacy, positive impacts of the intervention, and recommendations. Overall feedback was positive and participants found the intervention insightful and empowering. Conclusions: Collectively, the quantitative and qualitative findings supported each other regarding the development of a novel intervention. The ‘Our Bodies’ Programme appeared to have a positive impact on women’s body image and it was acceptable in the format in which it was presented. However, the study did not include a control group or a follow-up, thus care needs to be taken when drawing conclusions from the results. Nevertheless, this research has the potential to contribute to the understanding of which population may be best suited for this programme, delivery format and dissemination strategies using the existing literature on media literacy, positive body image and feminist theories in order to ensure maximum impact. Future directions and implications for Counselling Psychology practice are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Szmigielska, Emilia_Redacted.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (2MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login