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Title: Targeting Thinness Norms Misperception: A Social Norms Intervention for Improving College Women’s Body Image
Authors: Lui, Bubble
Advisors: Prentice, Deborah
Department: Psychology
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2022
Abstract: This study examined the effectiveness of a single-session online social norms intervention that targets thinness norms misperception in improving women’s body image. Specifically, this study investigated two major questions: 1) the effects of the social norms intervention on thinness norms misperception, thinness norms conformity, and body dissatisfaction, and the role of thinness norms misperception in mediating the effects of the intervention on the outcome variables, and 2) the additional benefits of promoting positive body norms as a supplement to the intervention. The study used a randomized controlled trials design, in which 174 non-Asian American female undergraduates at Princeton University were randomly assigned to either 1) social norms intervention (SN), 2) social norms and positive psychology intervention (SN+), or 3) control condition. Thinness norms misperception, thinness norms conformity, body dissatisfaction, and body appreciation were measured at pre-test, post-test, and 1-month follow-up. The results showed that the SN and SN+ conditions were effective in reducing thinness norms misperception and negative body image relative to the control condition. Thinness norms misperception mediated the effects in the SN condition and partially mediated the effects in the SN+ condition. The SN+ condition was more effective than the SN condition in reducing negative body image and was the only condition that resulted in a significant increase in positive body image. Overall, this study suggests that a social norms intervention is effective in reducing women’s negative body image, and the promotion of positive body norms as a supplement further enhance the effectiveness of the intervention. The findings point researchers to new directions to develop future universal thinness norms interventions on college campuses.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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