Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Clark Campbell

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Gathercoal

Third Advisor

Dr. Melanie Hulbert


Given the connection between self-concept and body-image for women recovering from eating disorders, this study researched the impact of twelve women’s participation in a body- image group in a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center. The dialectical behavior therapy approach is of particular interest given its emphasis on mindfulness and acceptance, which may aid in decreasing the tension between how women with eating disorders view their ideal versus perceived selves. Quantitatively, this study investigated change in scores on the Total Self- concept Score (TOT) and Conflict Score (CON) of the Tennessee Self-concept Scale – 2. As hypothesized, data analysis revealed a large effect size of .89 for positive change in TOT following group participation; however, there was no change in CON. Qualitatively, this study evaluated thematic differences regarding the interaction between body-image treatment, gender identity, and ideal versus actual perceived self before and after group participation. Themes revealed through grounded theory analysis of the qualitative data addressed participants’ core conflict between longing for perfection and valuing acceptance of imperfection. These quantitative and qualitative results indicate the potential of DBT based body-image treatment for improving the overall sense of self in women in the recovery phase of eating disorders. Implications for future research are discussed.

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