Center for Body Image Research and Policy


Research suggests body appreciation is related to mental, physical, and sexual health behaviors and outcomes that are relevant to social workers and public health clinicians. As such, it is imperative to develop and test interventions that aim to improve body appreciation. The current study is part of a larger pilot intervention study that utilized 3D scanning technology. During the intervention, 18–25-year-old women digitally “painted” their avatar on a computer-based on a series of prompts from the researcher. The purpose of this study is to qualitatively explore how a small subsample of the participants (n = 18) experienced this innovative intervention and how they view themselves differently post-intervention. Using thematic analysis, we uncovered three themes: 1) ways of defining body image, 2) importance of body function over aesthetics, and 3) body acceptance and appreciation. This study provides support for the use of one-time individual-level interventions focused on body appreciation and functionality over appearance. Implications to discuss.

Authors: Virginia Ramseyer Winter, Michelle Teti, Antoinette M. Landor, and Kristen Morris