Previous research on the Objectification Theory suggests that woman may experience self-objectification and body dissatisfaction. Research has demonstrated that yoga is associated with lower self-objectification and lower body dissatisfaction (Daubenmeir, 2005; Impett, Daubenmeir, & Hirschman, 2006) and thus may be a key intervention toward increasing body satisfaction among woman.
The purpose of this between and within groups repeated measures experimental study is to determine whether or not a yoga program has positive effects on decreasing body dissatisfaction, increasing body satisfaction, decreasing self-objectification, and increasing mindfulness of the body in college women. Volunteers experiencing dissatisfaction with their bodies and who have zero to limited yoga experience based on their self-report were recruited for the study. Participants were comprised of 32 college students. Participants completed a survey packet consisting of the following measures: (a) A demographics questionnaire (Clancy, unpublished dissertation, 2008); (b) The Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998); (c) The Surveillance subscale of the Objectified Body Consciousness (OBC) Scale (McKinley & Hyde, 1996); (d) The Body Areas Satisfaction subscale of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ-BAS; Brown, Cash, & Mikulka, 1990; (e) The CBBSM (Clancy, unpublished dissertation); (f) The Eating Disorder Inventory-Body Dissatisfaction subscale (EDI-BD; Garner et al., 1983); and (g) a modified version of the Frieburg Mindfulness Inventory (Walach, Buchheld, Buttenmuller, Kleinknecht, & Schmidt, 2006). Participants were randomly assigned to either yoga treatment (Group 1a) or the waitlist control group (Group 2a). Following ten weeks of participation in the waitlist control group, participants from Group 2a then self-selected for a yoga intervention (Group 2b). Additionally, a follow-up interview was conducted with 12 participants.
Most measures were found to be strongly correlated. A repeated measures analysis was conducted combining data from Group 1a and 2b, revealing that participants demonstrated significantly lower within group body dissatisfaction scores and significantly higher body satisfaction scores at post test than at pre test. Participants in Group 1a alone demonstrated significantly higher within group body satisfaction scores at post test than at pre test. Six main qualitative themes emerged for participants after 10 weeks of yoga treatment: Acceptance, Awareness and Spirituality, Mind-Body Connection, Body Compassion, Mindfulness of the Self, and Physical and Functional Body. Qualitative and quantitative findings lend support for the utilization of yoga treatment for women with body image issues in a non-clinical setting.