Psychology Research and Behavior Management

The thin ideal is a situation in which overweight individuals or those with big bodies are deemed unhealthy or to have imperfect shapes. However, it is not always the case because somebody figures are natural and come from genetic makeup. Some stages in life can make one grow—the project target is to intervene in this thin-ideal situation by creating dissonance among the participants (Schaefer, Burke, & Thompson, J2019). The programs allow the participants to critique the thin ideal and to engage in body acceptance exercises and role-plays to counter thin-ideal statements and resist peer pressure.

Through the intervention that participants come to terms with their body appearance and avoid instances of situations where the thin ideal is perpetuated. Therefore, every individual accepts their body appearance and does the minimum requirements to remain healthy.

The participants took part in different activities that were categorized into four sessions. In the first sessions, the participants are informed of the type of activity they will do – discuss the cost of the thin ideal. Through the session, the participants engage in discussions that strive to identify the origin and perpetuation of the thin ideal, the impact of the messages about the thin perfect, and the corporation profiting from unrealistic standards (“Body Project,” n.d.). The participants are then instructed to write letters, as their homework, to hypothetical younger self discussing the cost of thin ideas pursuit and reflection examination in a full-length mirror.

The second session involves reviewing the previous session and sharing reactions to the letter they wrote in the first session on the cost of thin ideal pursuit. In addition, they also share their thoughts and feelings on self-affirmation and exercise. As a new exercise unique to the session, the participants engage in role-playing, trying to dissuade the group from pursuing a thin ideal. Also, the participants are given excise to give three examples of life experiences of pressure to achieve a slim body and list ten things’ women can do to resist the thin ideal.

The third session is also a discussion where the participants discuss the assignment given in the previous session on the pressure to be thin. They are challenged to engage in a behavioral experiment related to their problems as an assignment. In this session, the participants also discuss why they signed to the intervention and identify their body image concerns.

In the fourth and last session, the participants discuss their experiences and reactions to the behavioral challenge and body activism exercises. They are encouraged to go with the challenge in the future. The discussion they engage in includes how the thin ideal is perpetuated and ways of addressing difficulties arising from resisting pressure to conform to the thin ideal.

The dissonance intervention method is one of the methods used to prevent girls and humans from having a mental perception of thinking that body weight and shapes are the primary reasons for health issues. The interventions implemented in the programs aim to discourage young women from believing they should achieve the thin ideal. The thin ideal situation has brought many young women psychological problems because of trying to reach the thin ideal without any success (“Body Project,” n.d.). The dissonance intervention methods seek to boost the confidence of women and girls who think that their bodies are not healthy based on their appearance and the outside pressure to achieve the thin ideal.

The program’s goals are to ensure that young woman does not yield to peer pressures that force them to achieve thin ideal, to prevent psychological issues that come with external pressure and body shaming, and to encourage women to healthy living and dieting (Warren & Akoury, 2020). The discussion strategies, in this case, ensure that the woman gives enough information about the thin ideal and its impact on individual life. Through dissonance intervention, women can get rid of the perception propagated by the external environment on one’s appearance. Therefore, the women will have improved self-esteem by ignoring the external pressures of the thin ideal.

The participants that were involved in the study were selected from high schools and colleges. Typically, girls and women in high school and college have similar characteristics; most strive to have thin bodies. They give in to the pressure of thin ideal. As a result, they strive to maintain healthy eating habits by doing a lot of exercises but realize the most minimal effects (“Body Project,” n.d.). This strive has driven most of the psychological problems, which some remain for a long time, even after school.

After the intervention administration, it is good to assess the effectiveness of each intervention method. We need to determine whether the invention worked or not. First, indicators to determine the impact of the intervention are to assess the number of participants that completed all the sessions. A high number of more than 80 % of the meeting shows that the intervention works effectively. Second is the direct observation of participants’ change of behavior in their pursuit of the thin ideal. Most abandon the pursuit but maintain a healthy lifestyle without stress.


Body Project. (n.d.). Blueprint.

Schaefer, L. M., Burke, N. L., & Thompson, J. K. (2019). Thin-ideal internalization: How much is too much?. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity24(5), 933-937.

Warren, C. S., & Akoury, L. M. (2020). Emphasizing the “cultural” in sociocultural: A systematic review of research on thin-ideal internalization, acculturation, and eating pathology in US ethnic minorities. Psychology Research and Behavior Management13, 319.

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