Enhances body image in breast cancer patients

Pintado, Sheila, and Sandra Andrade. “Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness program to enhance body image in patients with breast cancer.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine, online June 1, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2017.05.009.

Introduction. Breast cancer affects the thoughts and emotions related to patient’s body image and it has a negative impact in their quality of life. The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial in patients with breast cancer comparing mindfulness training to improve body image with a program based on personal image advice.

Method. A total of 29 women with breast cancer were randomly allocated into one of 2 groups: an experimental (mindfulness program) and control (personal image advice) group. The assessment tools were semi-structured interviews and the BIS and SBC questionnaires. Data was analyzed using quantitative techniques.

Results. The mindfulness program was effective in decreasing negative thoughts and emotions related to body image and dissociation (p < .01), and in increasing positive thoughts and body awareness (p<.01). Moreover, there were significant differences in body image between control and experimental group (F(1,28) = 12.616; p<.01; ηp2=.335).

Conclusion. The mindfulness program was useful in improving psychological and emotional changes related to body image in breast cancer patients. Changes in body image are a key component in the treatment of breast cancer patients with the ability to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Eating disorders prevention (preliminary trial)

Atkinson, M. J., & Wade, T. D. (2014). Does mindfulness have potential in eating disorders prevention? A preliminary controlled trial with young adult women. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue.

From the Abstract. This preliminary randomized controlled trial assessed the feasibility of a pilot mindfulness-based intervention with respect to reducing the risk of eating disorders in young women. Forty-four young adult women with body image concerns were randomly allocated to a mindfulness-based or a dissonance-based intervention (3 × 1 h weekly sessions), or to assessment-only control. Self-report measures of eating disorder risk factors, symptoms and related psychosocial impairment were compared at baseline, post-intervention, and at 1- and 6-month follow up.

Preliminary findings demonstrate the acceptability and short-term efficacy of a mindfulness-based approach to reducing the risk of disordered eating in young women. This provides support for the continued evaluation of mindfulness in the prevention and early intervention of eating disorders, with increased efforts to produce maintenance of intervention gains.

A protective factor against body image dissatisfaction

Pidgeon, A. M., & McNeil, E. (2013). Mindfulness, empowerment and feminist identity development as protective factors against women developing body image dissatisfaction. International Journal of Healing and Caring, 13(1), 1. Full text.

From the Abstract: Body image dissatisfaction among women is pervasive and associated with increased risk for maladaptive eating practices, poor self-concept, depression and psychological distress. … This study examines mindfulness, empowerment and feminist identity development as factors to protect women across the life span from developing body image dissatisfaction.

Participants were 199 women from the general population and university students ranging in age from 18 to 67 years.  The participants completed measures assessing body image dissatisfaction, mindfulness, empowerment and feminist identity development.  …  Results of the mediational analysis revealed that empowerment is a partial mediator between feminist identity development and body image dissatisfaction. 

These findings suggest that interventions designed to increase mindfulness, feminist identity development and empowerment may assist women to resist internalizing that the thin ideal of body shape is important for women and protect women from developing body image dissatisfaction. …