Emma Halliwell

Emma Halliwell
University of the West of England, Bristol | UWE Bristol · Centre for Appearance Research

PhD

About

58
Publications
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3,437
Citations

Publications

Publications (58)
Article
Evidence shows interventions can improve positive body image in adult women. This systematic review examined the evidence of efficacy of interventions that aimed to increase positive body image in children and young people aged under 18 years. The authors followed PRISMA guidelines for the review. Searches of CINAHL Plus, Medline, PsychINFO, Wiley...
Article
Cognitive dissonance-based interventions (CDIs) have been well established as effective programs for the prevention of eating disorders. However, limited research has qualitatively explored adolescent girls experience of such interventions. The present study examined the acceptability of a cognitive dissonance-based body image intervention among ad...
Article
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Theory suggests promoting positive body image (PBI) through interventions would have a significant impact on health and well-being. However, little is known about the effectiveness of existing interventions. This review aimed to identify and assess the evidence of effectiveness of interventions to increase PBI in adults. Database searches were cond...
Article
Yoga is an embodying activity that promotes body awareness, body connection, body responsiveness, and appreciation of body functionality, and it therefore may be a beneficial school-based intervention for children’s body image. The present study examined the impact of a 4-week yoga intervention on pre-adolescent girls’ and boys’ body image (body ap...
Article
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Objective: To examine men’s body dissatisfaction qualitatively. Design: Forty-two British men aged 18–45 years took part in a two-session group intervention across 12 groups. The intervention was designed to improve body dissatisfaction by engaging them in a critique of the appearance ideal through written and behavioural exercises. Main outcome me...
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Objective: Negative body image is prevalent in women with rheumatoid arthritis and can affect other areas of well-being. Patients have expressed desire for body image to be addressed in treatment. Yet, it is not routinely addressed and no experimental intervention research has been conducted, until now. This randomized trial evaluated a brief onli...
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Focusing on body functionality is a promising technique for improving women’s body image. This study replicates prior research in a large novel sample, tests longer-term follow-up effects, and investigates underlying mechanisms of these effects (body complexity and body-self integration). British women (N = 261) aged 18-30 who wanted to improve the...
Article
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This pilot study evaluated a body image intervention for men, Body Project M. Seventy-four British undergraduate men took part in two 90-min intervention sessions, and completed standardised assessments of body image, bulimic pathology, and related outcomes at baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up. Fifty-three other men completed the q...
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In recent years, elements of the modern environment (such as television, Internet, toys and clothes) have been criticized for having an increasingly sexualized or appearance focus, which has been suggested to be detrimental to girls’ development. The current study examined the impact of an appearance-focused Internet game on young girls’ body image...
Article
Positive body image among adults is related to numerous indicators of well-being. However, no research has explored body appreciation among children. To facilitate our understanding of children’s positive body image, the current study adapts and validates the Body Appreciation Scale-2 (BAS-2; Tylka & Wood-Barcalow, 2015a) for use with children. Thr...
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Body image pressures for heterosexual women are well established. However, lesbian body image is less well understood, while bisexual women have largely been overlooked with the psychological literature. Further, women's investment in 'traditional' appearance practices associated with femininity are under explored. The current study explored differ...
Article
Body Image in the Primary School (Hutchinson & Calland, 2011) is a body image curriculum that is widely available but has not yet been evaluated. This study evaluates a set of 6 of the 49 available lessons from this curriculum. Seventy-four girls and 70 boys aged 9–10 were recruited from four primary schools in the UK. Schools were randomly allocat...
Article
This article reflects on the findings of the interdisciplinary 'TransForm' project, which ran between 2012 and 2014 and aimed to explore how reading and writing digital fictions might support young women in developing frameworks for more positive thinking regarding their body image. The project comprised the following stages: (1) a review and compi...
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Objective: Poor body image is a public health issue. Mothers are a key influence on adolescent girls' body image. This study evaluated an accessible, scalable, low-intensity internet-based intervention delivered to mothers (Dove Self Esteem Project Website for Parents) on mothers' and their adolescent daughters' body image and psychosocial well-be...
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The media’s portrayal of women is often sexually objectifying, and greater exposure to objectifying media is associated with higher levels of self-objectification among young women. One reason why media usage may be associated with self- objectification is because women may be comparing their appearance to others in the media. The present study exa...
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This study evaluated a 90-minute single session school-based body image intervention (Dove Confident Me: Single Session), and investigated if delivery could be task-shifted to teachers. British adolescents (N=1707; 11-13 years; 50.83% girls) participated in a cluster randomised controlled trial [lessons as usual control; intervention teacher-led (T...
Article
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Dissonance-based body image interventions are among the most effective interventions for adolescent girls. However, dissemination of these interventions remains challenging. In addition, the emerging field of positive body image suggests that interventions should promote body appreciation as well as reduce pathology. The current study examines whet...
Article
The emergence of positive body image research during the last 10 years represents an important shift in the body image literature. The existing evidence provides a strong empirical basis for the study of positive body image and research has begun to address issues of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, development, and intervention in relation to posi...
Article
The present study experimentally investigated the effect of Facebook usage on women's mood and body image, whether these effects differ from an online fashion magazine, and whether appearance comparison tendency moderates any of these effects. Female participants (N = 112) were randomly assigned to spend 10 min browsing their Facebook account, a ma...
Chapter
This reflective report provides another – contrasting – appearance-related example of a thematic analysis (TA) study. Whereas the worked example in Chapter X focused on gay men’s appearance and provided a predominantly latent-level interpretation of the data, this report focuses on lesbian and bisexual women’s appearance and provides a more semanti...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Throughout the world, girls and women are interested in their looks. What has been perceived as an enjoyable part of life is however imbued with negative economic and psychological costs which are rarely calculated. International studies confirm the disturbing trend that body dissatisfaction and the perception that one is too large (even if this is...
Article
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Recently, there have been significant advances in eating disorders (ED) prevention. Cognitive dissonance programs have demonstrated reductions in ED risk factors outlined in the dual pathway model (Stice, 1994) among university-age women in the USA and the UK. However, self-objecti-fication theory proposes additional empirically supported risk-fact...
Article
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According to the tripartite influence model of body image, appearance pressures from family, friends, partners, and the media lead to body dissatisfaction and restrained eating behaviours. There is strong support for this model among young, White heterosexual women. Evidence suggests that women who identified as lesbian as bisexual (LB) may be prot...
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Drawing on interviews with 20 self-identified bisexual women, this paper contributes to the limited psychological literature on bisexual women by exploring their experiences of social marginalisation. These (mainly white and middle class) British bisexual women reported that they did not feel at home in either lesbian or lesbian, gay, bisexual and...
Article
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Appearance is one way in which lesbian and bisexual identities and affiliation to lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) subculture can be demonstrated. ‘Butch’ and ‘androgynous’ styles have been used by lesbian women to communicate a non-heterosexual identity. However, some LGB appearance researchers have argued that there has been a mainstreaming and diver...
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A number of feminist scholars have argued that dress and appearance can be used to critique the dominant culture and explore alternative subjectivities. Research on non-heterosexual visual identities has explored the role that appearance and clothing practices can play in the construction of individual identities and collective communities. However...
Article
This paper examines whether positive body image can protect women from negative media exposure effects. University women (N=112) were randomly allocated to view advertisements featuring ultra-thin models or control images. Women who reported high levels of body appreciation did not report negative media exposure effects. Furthermore, the protective...
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Governments, schools, and curriculum authorities are increasingly recognizing that body image during adolescence is a public health issue that warrants attention in the school setting. After 30 years of eating disorder prevention research, and given the current interest in this area, it seems timely to review the research on interventions to improv...
Article
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Objective: Body image and eating disorder interventions based on cognitive dissonance have been shown to be effective among girls and women aged 14 and above. This article reports a preliminary examination of whether a dissonance intervention is also effective when delivered in a school setting to 12- and 13-year-old girls in the United Kingdom....
Article
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Men's body dissatisfaction is prevalent and a serious health concern as it is associated with negative outcomes including depression, disordered eating, and anabolic steroid abuse. Gay men are particularly vulnerable to body dissatisfaction, perhaps due to heightened sociocultural appearance pressures experienced in gay subculture. Appearance conve...
Article
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Heterosexual women in Western cultures are known to experience body image concerns, dieting and disordered eating as a result of intense social pressures to be thin. However, it is theorised that lesbian and bisexual women belong to a subculture that is 'protective' of such demands. Fifteen non-heterosexual women were interviewed about their experi...
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This longitudinal study tested the direction of associations between family meals and alcohol and tobacco consumption during early adolescence. We examined family meal frequency, family connectedness, alcohol (binge drinking, drunkenness), and tobacco consumption (past year, daily frequency) in 671 adolescents (51% women; mean age, Wave 1 = 14.05 y...
Article
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Women’s feelings about their body and their appearance are an important aspect of their lives, yet little is known about the ways in which partner relationships shape these feelings. There has been some debate about whether or not same-sex relationships offer protection to nonheterosexual (lesbian and bisexual) women from potentially harmful social...
Article
This experimental study examined whether a brief video intervention identifying the artificial nature of media images could protect adolescent girls from negative media exposure effects and body dissatisfaction. A 2 (intervention condition)×2 (exposure condition) between-groups design was used. Participants were 127 British girls aged between 10 an...
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There has been a shift in the depiction of women in advertising from objectifying representations of women as passive sex objects to agentic sexual representations where the women appear powerful and in control (Gill, 2007a, 2008), and there is substantial evidence that these representations have a negative impact on women’s body image. However, to...
Article
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This paper presents a feminist Foucauldian analysis of women’s interpretations of images of women in post-feminist advertising. Building on Ros Gill’s analysis of post-feminist advertising images of women, and more specifically the figure of ‘the midriff ’, the paper presents an analysis of focus group discussions with seven young women who were as...
Article
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Despite evidence that frequent family meals are associated with low levels of substance use during adolescence, prior studies have not examined the role of how adolescents perceive mealtimes. We examined family meal frequency, family connectedness, perceived priority, atmosphere and structure of mealtimes as predictors of alcohol and tobacco consum...
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Using combined qualitative data from multiple case study interviews and an online survey, this study explored the impact of appearance change on 22 adolescents receiving cancer treatment aged 13 to 18 years and six of their parents. Data were analyzed using template analysis. Appearance changes were a major concern. Adolescents typically struggled...
Article
The present study aimed to integrate attachment theory and sociocultural theory as predictors of disordered eating, thereby combining two previously distinct literatures in order to provide a more comprehensive model of eating disorder development. It was specifically proposed that women's attachment style may influence their tendency to socially c...
Article
Previous experimental research demonstrates that exposure to ultra-thin media models has negative effects on many women's body image, but neglects underlying psychological processes. We develop and test a moderated mediation model with internalization of the thin beauty ideal as moderator, and activation of weight-related self-discrepancies as medi...
Article
This study examines the effects of exposure to the muscular male body ideal on body-focused negative affect among male gym users and non-exercisers. As hypothesized, the impact of media exposure depended on men's exercise status. Non-exercisers (n = 58) reported greater body-focused negative affect after exposure to images of muscular male models t...
Article
Reports an error in "Does Barbie make girls want to be thin? The effect of experimental exposure to images of dolls on the body image of 5- to 8-year-old girls" by Helga Dittmar, Emma Halliwell and Suzanne Ive (Developmental Psychology, 2006 Mar, Vol 42[2], 283-292). A substantive error occurs in the Body shape dissatisfaction section on page 287....
Article
The study tests a version of Stice's (1994) sociocultural model of disordered eating that was modified to incorporate social comparisons. Additionally, it examines how self-reported body-mass index and perceived weight status influence associations within the model. Questionnaires were administered in a state secondary school; the sample consisted...
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This study examines the associations between appearance-related, actual-ideal self-discrepancies--from both own and romantic partner's standpoints--and negative affect, body satisfaction, and eating behavior. It extends previous research through studying both genders and the romantic partner standpoint, but its main novel contribution is a systemat...
Article
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The ubiquitous Barbie doll was examined in the present study as a possible cause for young girls' body dissatisfaction. A total of 162 girls, from age 5 to age 8, were exposed to images of either Barbie dolls, Emme dolls (U.S. size 16), or no dolls (baseline control) and then completed assessments of body image. Girls exposed to Barbie reported low...
Article
This study investigates the effect of social comparisons with media models on women's body image based on either self-evaluation or self-improvement motives. Ninety-eight women, for whom appearance was a relevant comparison dimension, viewed advertisements that did, or did not, feature idealised models, after being prompted to engage in self-evalua...
Article
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Previous research demonstrates that exposure to ultra-thin media models leads to increased body image concerns amongst women (Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002). There is emerging evidence that attractive, average-size models do not have this negative effect and can be effective in advertising (e.g. Halliwell & Dittmar, 2004). The present study invest...
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An increasing number of studies shows that exposure to thin ideal bodies in the me- dia has negative effects on young women's body images, at least in the short-term. However, this research has (a) consistently confounded the effects of thinness and attractiveness, and (b) not investigated the potential use of alternative images in ad- vertising th...
Article
In-depth interviews were conducted with 42 women and men (aged 22–62 years) to explore their relationships with their bodies. The particular focus was age-related changes in body image and attitudes toward the body aging, an area that has received little research attention to date. Thematic analysis revealed distinctive gender differences. Men comm...
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Research on body image has neglected adolescents' ideals beyond thinness, particularly those of adolescent boys. Two studies are reported which examine a range of qualities in order to capture English adolescents' images of ideal bodies for same- and other-gender individuals. Study 1 used a qualitative approach, where 58 pupils aged 12–16 years dis...

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Projects (4)
Project
Testing an American mindful eating programme with a sample of adult women in the UK
Project
This project involves a series of pragmatic randomized controlled trials to assess the acceptability and effectiveness of a suite of evidence-informed tools that aim to promote positive body image among adolescents. We are evaluating interventions for use in school-settings (delivered by teachers), online (directed to parents), and in community settings (through youth groups) in Europe, Australasia, North and South America, North Africa, and Asia.