Imagery rescripting and cognitive dissonance: A randomized controlled trial of two brief online interventions for women at risk of developing an eating disorder

Jaimie-Lee Pennesi, Tracey D. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This pilot study compared two brief online interventions, imagery rescripting and cognitive dissonance, to an assessment-only control condition in a sample of body-dissatisfied young women at risk of developing an eating disorder. We examined the degree to which each intervention reduced disordered eating and modified risk and protective factors for eating disorders. Method: Female university students (N = 107, 17–28 years of age) completed a screening questionnaire, followed by random allocation to one of the three conditions, followed by a baseline assessment, body dissatisfaction induction, and brief online intervention. Participants in the active conditions then completed online daily home practice and a postintervention questionnaire. Results: Findings provide qualified support for the imagery rescripting intervention, with participants reporting higher body image acceptance (Cohen's d = 0.49) than the cognitive dissonance condition, and higher self-compassion (d = 0.59) and lower levels of disordered eating (d = 0.59) than the control condition, at postintervention. There was no significant impact of cognitive dissonance on any factors. Change in body image acceptance and self-compassion mediated the relationship between allocated condition and change in disordered eating at postintervention. Discussion: These findings provide preliminary support for the use of online-adapted imagery-based techniques (e.g., imagery rescripting) to reduce risk for the development of an eating disorder by strengthening protective factors (i.e., body image acceptance and self-compassion) and reducing disordered eating. Further exploration of the use of imagery strategies in the prevention of disordered eating is required, including prospective tests of the mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • cognitive dissonance
  • disordered eating
  • eating disorders
  • imagery rescripting
  • intervention
  • online
  • prevention

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