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Body dissatisfaction and resilience

How our mental wellness app reduces negative body image for high risk female university students

  • Body dissatisfaction represents a prevalent condition in young women.
  • Daily training with our mobile app may reduce some forms of body dissatisfaction.
  • Medium-large effect size reductions emerged for BDD symptoms.
  • Effects of the intervention on eating disorder symptoms seem more limited.

Body dissatisfaction is prevalent in young women and is associated with symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Eating Disorders (EDs).

Prof. Guy Doron, co-founder of GGtude, together with a team of students and researchers, wanted to assess the positive effect of our mobile application, based on cognitive behavioral principles, in reducing body dissatisfaction and BDD/ED (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) symptoms in female university students, considered at high-risk of developing Body Image Disorders (BIDs). 

How the study was conducted

Fifty university students at high-risk of developing BIDs (using self-report questionnaires assessing BIDs and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Clinical Version) were assigned to two random groups: an immediate-use group (iApp group; n = 25) and a delayed-use group (dApp group; n = 25). The iApp group started using the app at baseline for 16 days (T0 to T1). The dApp group waited for 16 days before starting to use the app (T1 to T2). Participants completed questionnaires at baseline (T0), 16 days from baseline (T1), and 32 days from baseline (T2).

The results

Repeated measure Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) showed a Group interaction on BDD symptoms indicating medium effect size reductions in the iApp group compared to dApp group; post-intervention means for BDD symptoms were under the cut-off for extreme body dissatisfaction/BDD symptoms in both groups.

Conclusion

Training 3 minutes a day for 16 days with our OCD mobile app may lead to reductions in some forms of body dissatisfaction, including BDD symptoms in female university students at high-risk of developing BIDs.

What does it mean for people who suffer from body image issues?

The results show that it’s possible to reduce some forms of body dissatisfaction using the app for 16 days, 3 minutes every day.

You are welcome to try the app for free and see for yourself.

APP DOWNLOAD LINKS:

Citations

Cerea S., Ghisi, M., Bottesi, G., Manoli, E., Carraro., T., & Doron (in press). Short, Daily Cognitive behavioural Training Using a Mobile Application Reduces Body Image Related Symptoms in High Risk Female University Students: A Randomized Controlled Study. Behavior Therapy.

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I have doubts about my relationship. Is it normal?

Doubt is a defensive mechanism. Its purpose is to warn and protect us from mistakes and danger. A good balance between confidence and doubt ensures we can operate in this world freely and happily, and maintain a healthy relationship.

However, some people find it much more common to be unsure about things that for others can be more straightforward. For example, we can get preoccupied or obsessed about our partner, spouse or loved ones. This obsessive behaviour and thinking can prevent us from seeing clearly and making the right choices. Instead of protecting us, it can damage our relationships and our well being.

How do I know if I have ROCD?

Worrying, having doubts or even being preoccupied with a particular relationship does not automatically suggest a diagnosis of a relationship obsession.

Like other OCD symptoms, relationship-related OCD symptoms require psychological intervention only when causing significant distress and are incapacitating. Assessing ROCD symptoms, however, is further complicated by the fact that such experiences, even if distressing, may still be a part of the normal course of a still developing relationship, mainly during the flirting and dating stages of a relationship, or reflect real life problems.

ROCD and the OCD app

When we developed the app, we decided to focus on beliefs as a catalyst for changing maladaptive behaviours. Beliefs are interesting: We often forget about them, but they sit there in the back of our minds and control us, making us respond in specific ways to various stimuli.

Our app is focused on helping people improve their condition whether they have normal doubts or if they suffer from Relationship OCD.

Research shows training for 3-5 minutes a day can benefit users by reducing symptoms and challenging beliefs that hinder judgement.