Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Steven J. Scher


The relationship between disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and religion is complex. Previous research demonstrated that religious body affirmations are beneficial in reducing body dissatisfaction among undergraduate females. Because previous research used affirmations which were simultaneously religious in nature and related to the body, it is difficult to determine if the religiousness of the affirmation is the beneficial characteristic. The current study investigated which type of affirmation had the strongest effect on disordered eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction. More specifically, the five experimental conditions included: religious body affirmations, religious non-body affirmations, non-religious body affirmations, non-religious non-body affirmations, and neutral control statements. Participants were recruited using Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Using a 2x2 factorial design, our findings failed to show significant differences between religious versus body-related affirmations. In fact, our findings show that none of the affirmation conditions showed improvement in disordered eating attitudes or body dissatisfaction compared to the control condition. Future research is needed to further explore the possible benefits of positive affirmations in the treatment of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.