Prospective research indicates that positive body image, as defined as body appreciation, predicts adaptive eating behaviors among adolescent girls over a 1-year period (Andrew, Tiggemann, & Clark, 2016). Experimental research indicates that women with high body appreciation do not experience body dissatisfaction after exposure to models who embody sociocultural appearance ideals, whereas those with low body appreciation experience body dissatisfaction after exposure (Andrew, Tiggemann, & Clark, 2015; Halliwell, 2013). In addition, several dimensions of positive body image are correlated with multiple indicators of well-being such as self-esteem, proactive coping, optimism, positive affect, self-compassion, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness (see Chapters 2, 3, and 5). The combined evidence indicates that positive body image is protective against body image related concerns and bolsters psychological and physical well-being (Halliwell, 2015).
Therefore, it is important to identify factors, and develop interventions, that promote positive body image. There are parallel processes that will support this endeavor. One is to draw on evidence and theory to directly target predictors of positive body image in new interventions. The second, an equally important undertaking, is to examine the efficacy of existing evidenced-based body image interventions in promoting positive body image. This will allow us to capitalize on current good practice, avoid duplication of efforts, learn from past mistakes, and more strategically and rapidly advance the field of body image interventions. Cognitive dissonance-based interventions (CDI), commonly labelled as The Body Project, emerge in meta-analyses as the most effective selective eating disorder prevention and body acceptance programs for girls and women (Stice, Shaw, & Marti, 2007; Watson et al., 2016). This chapter will examine whether CDI might also be used to promote aspects of positive body image.