a1 Department of Psychology, University of Leicester
a2 Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London
The majority of investigations in the literature have concluded that body image is a relatively fixed phenomenon, the juvenile onset of obesity often being associated with a body image distortion which is presumed to be especially impervious to change (Stunkard and Burt, 1967; Hirsch, 1972). Nevertheless, the evidence for this suggestion is not conclusive (Collins et al., 1983), and is challenged by the findings of the present study. When subjected to regular videofeedback over a period of approximately four months, one group of obese subjects successfully lost weight, and appeared to improve the accuracy of their body image estimates. Another group of obese subjects who underwent a behaviour modification programme over the same period also lost weight and showed a lessening of body image distortion at the end of this intervention, but the changes observed between assessments were much greater for the video group. Some individuals in both treatment conditions had experienced juvenile-onset obesity. The fact that those who received videofeedback also showed improvement in terms of body image assessment and weight loss lends added support to the suggestion that the experience of videofeedback is therapeutic for the obese.
(Received May 1987)
Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Celia McCrea, Department of Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH, U.K.