Building Positive Body Image in the A.C.T
One in two Australian adults have at least one long-term health condition. Living with these conditions can negatively affect well-being and quality of life, and impact on the way we think and feel about our body. People with health concerns report high rates of body dissatisfaction. For example, they may feel unhappy about the impact of a medical condition (or its management) on the appearance of their body, frustrated by experiences of pain or discomfort, or needing to adjust to limitations in what their body can do, and feeling let down or unable to trust their body. These changes to our body image can have a negative impact on how we feel about ourselves, how we feel in general, and how we care for our body. These negative consequences mean that it’s important to help people with medical conditions feel better about their bodies.
The Building Positive Body Image Project aims to promote health and well-being in adults living with a medical condition in the A.C.T by improving body image. During 2021-2023, the project was supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. It is a collaboration between the ANU School of Medicine and Psychology and ANU Psychology Clinic, and has two components designed to achieve our aims.
Empower: Body Acceptance Skills
The Empower: Body Acceptance Skills Group is a free group program run through the ANU Psychology Clinic. Participants complete eight sessions over 12 weeks in a small, supportive group setting, facilitated by a team of psychologists. The group focuses on providing evidence-based information and tools that help participants to build on the ways they already care for their bodies, connect with their body in a positive way, and promote health and wellbeing. The program is delivered in-person and/or online.
Participants are invited to complete surveys (at pre- and post-program, and three-month follow-up) for program evaluation and research purposes. Ethical aspects of the research have been approved by the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol 2021/326).
Who is eligible? Adults (18 years +) living in the ACT and surrounds who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, particularly arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and osteoporosis.
Interested? To register your interest for the group, please phone the ANU Psychology Clinic on 6125 8498.
The Group Program Flyer is available in Documents and Reports.
Raising Awareness about Body Image in the Community and Health Professionals
Research shows that members of the community, and health professionals, have a limited understanding about body image, and few people seek help for these problems. To address these gaps, we are offering bespoke community education sessions and health professional training to raise awareness about this important area using a combination of didactic and interactive methods.
Interested? If you, your organisation or health service in the A.C.T is interested in learning more about body image, its importance in chronic illness, and available supports, do not hesitate to contact Project Lead, Dr Kristen Murray, via email Kristen.Murray@anu.edu.au.
Resources related to the project: