Along with the vast amount of positive implications for using cognitive behavioral therapy in a group setting for individuals who have body image disturbance, there is also literature supporting the need for this type of group therapy with women in a college setting. Forrest and Stuhldreher’s (2007) findings on body image dissatisfaction emphasized the need to focus on women in college, as their results showed a significant difference between the prevalence of BID (67-68%) for college women and (29-35%) men. However, the authors make note that while their findings confirm BID is an issue for female students, it is possibly an emerging issue for college men. Although men may benefit from group therapy focused on body image, having a mixed gender group may not be effective.
Yager, Diedrichs, and Drummond, (2013) found that college students reported being open to having a mixed gender group in relation to body image, but only if the group was a focus group. These same college students reported that they would not mind having a mixed gender focus group since the individuals would not have to disclose anything personal. This may suggest that women and men feel comfortable disclosing body image information only to and around individuals of the same gender. Therefore, the current manual will focus on college women specifically, and will not allow men to join the group, as it may not be effective and it may hinder self disclosure like the prior study suggests.
Further evidence of BID found in women supports the rationale for focus on the college population. Forrest and Stuhldreher (2007) stated that body image dissatisfaction is closely related to body image distortion amongst college students. Additionally, dissatisfied students were more likely to report “being stressed,” and scored as depressed on the Beck Depression Inventory. Risk factors included: being a female college student, eating meat four or more times a week, having depression, and being overweight. The authors pointed out that healthy eating habits and awareness of depressive symptoms should continue to be addressed with this population. They also suggested topics for programs around this issue to focus on with its members, such as: (a) healthy eating habits and exercise habits, (b) challenging norms, (c) supporting acceptance and awareness of individualism, and (d) increase students awareness of media’s influence on their self-image and self-esteem (Forrest and Stuhldreher, 2007).
Staying with the concept of self-esteem, Wood-Barcalow, Tylka, and Agustus-Horvath (2010) explored the under-researched topic of positive body image. The authors stated that the field already has a deep understanding of negative body image, so there is a need to better understand positive body image. In order to accomplish their goal, the researchers used Grounded Theory to analyze 15 college women and five body image experts. The participants within the study were racially diverse compared to normal college...