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Keywords:

  • eating pathology;
  • thin ideal;
  • eating disorder prevention;
  • cognitive;
  • dissonance

Abstract

Objective

A dissonance-based program aimed at reducing thin-ideal internalization has been found to significantly decrease levels of bulimic symptoms in young adult and adolescent females. Because this program is multifaceted, containing psychoeducation, counterattitudinal advocacy, and behavioral exposure components, the current study sought to investigate the mechanisms involved in symptom reduction.

Method

The current study compared the original treatment program with a dismantled version of the full package, which consisted solely of the specific dissonance component (i.e., the counterattitudinal advocacy procedure). Seventy-eight women were randomly assigned to either the full treatment condition or the counterattitudinal advocacy condition.

Results

Findings suggest that both interventions significantly reduced established risk factors for eating pathology as well as bulimic symptoms at termination and at 1-month follow-up.

Conclusion

Both treatments appear to be equally effective at reducing eating pathology in at-risk college women. Limitations of the study are discussed, and directions for future research are offered. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.