A randomized trial exploring mindfulness and gratitude exercises as eHealth-based micro-interventions for improving body satisfaction

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Abstract

Despite theoretical arguments that brief app-based interventions could be a useful adjunct to longer traditional treatment programs, there has been limited evaluation of the acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy of these micro-interventions. In the present study, 247 women from the general population were randomly assigned to the intervention or wait-list control condition, and provided measurement of body satisfaction and related constructs (body image importance, confidence dealing with body image issues, eating pathology, and self-esteem) at baseline and 21-days (post-intervention). During the 21-day period, the treatment group received access to an eHealth platform containing a series of brief video activities (e.g., gratitude tasks, breathing, and relaxation) previously demonstrated in experimental studies to improve body satisfaction. Findings showed greater improvements in body satisfaction at post-intervention for the intervention group than the waitlist controls (Cohen's d =.42). Use of the intervention content was associated with immediate increases in state-like body satisfaction ratings, and the magnitude of these in-the-moment improvements was predictive of greater post-intervention symptom improvement and retention (ps <.05). However, the intervention did not produce change in constructs related to body satisfaction (Cohen's d ranged from 0.02 to 0.13). Overall, findings offer support for micro-interventions as a spot treatment for specific symptoms, and possible means to maintain engagement and motivation within a broader treatment program.

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Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Richardson, B., Lewis, V., Linardon, J., Mills, J., Juknaitis, K., … Krug, I. (2019). A randomized trial exploring mindfulness and gratitude exercises as eHealth-based micro-interventions for improving body satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 95, 58–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.01.028

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