Background: The aim of this project was to examine the qualitative responses of adult women who had seen the feature-length documentary film 'Embrace'. In addition, to establish the potential for the documentary to be used as an intervention to improve adult body image, a naturalistic study was conducted to examine whether any differences on measures of body image were apparent among women who had, versus those who had not, seen the film. Method: Participants were 1429 women aged 18-77 who were members of the Facebook group 'Body Image Movement' facilitated by Taryn Brumfitt, who also directed the documentary Embrace. Participants completed a cross-sectional online questionnaire regarding whether they had seen the film, their perceptions of the impact of the film on their lives and body image, and a range of standardized scales measuring psychological wellbeing. Results: Overall, the majority of participants had seen the film (n = 1053, 73.7%). Qualitative analysis of open-ended data asking about the changes participants made after viewing the film revealed that a large proportion (44.1%) felt they had higher levels of body appreciation and body confidence, many reported engaging less in dieting (19.6%), and some reported lowered disordered eating (2.8%), since seeing Embrace. Women who had seen the film also reported significantly higher levels of body appreciation (Body Appreciation Scale; medium effect size), and significantly lower levels of internalization of body ideals, self-objectification, body shame, and dietary restraint, than women who had not seen the film. Conclusions: Adult women reported numerous positive responses to their viewing of the film. Future experimental research should explore the efficacy of Embrace as a brief and engaging intervention for improving body image in adult women.
- Body image
- Health promotion