Cognitive Dissonance Strategies for Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders

Dieting, body dissatisfaction and disordered eating and exercise behaviors are well documented among male ( Drummond, 2002; O'Dea and Abraham, 2002) and female ( Crawford and Worsley, 1988; Drenowski et al., 1994; Kenardy et al., 2001; Hill, 2002) university students worldwide.

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As a coach, I am always looking for proven ways to enhance body image and health in my athletes and I thought this article was extremely helpful in explaining the methods that actually work (and those that don't). Not so surprisingly, strait-up... more »As a coach, I am always looking for proven ways to enhance body image and health in my athletes and I thought this article was extremely helpful in explaining the methods that actually work (and those that don't). Not so surprisingly, strait-up education is not so effective at reducing eating disorders because an individual will just be in denial of their problem. Cognitive dissonance isn't just education though, it actually forces the athlete (or even non-athlete) to assess their athletic performance and the performance of people with different body types and compare their beliefs about the relationship between their beliefs and reality. If their beliefs are not consistent with reality, then "dissonance" is created (an inconsistency in logic that creates stress) and more often provides the motivation to change their beliefs about body types and weight. This is a technique that I might be able to use with my wrestling team - with caution. In wrestling, everyone knows everyone else's weight, so all I have to do is point out that some people are performing really well even though they might not be extremely lean or have a low BMI. I can also have them try doing a leg press at different times and having them log their max so they can see how it changes when their weight changes. 11-30-2014 9:21pm

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Comment by Chloe Belisle

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