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Research Projects


Comprehensive Care Centers for Eating Disorders Program

Dates: 4/1/2008 - 4/30/2022

NYS Dept. of Health Division of Chronic Disease Prevention

Principal Investigator: Mary Darlene Tantillo, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAED, CGP

One major aim of the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders is to promote prevention of eating disorders and obesity through the use of evidence-based practices. This study represents phase I of a larger eating disorder/obesity prevention project aimed at promoting wellness and improving body image in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at two middle schools in Upstate New York. The study used a participatory, qualitative approach to identify factors that promote positive and negative body image in female and male middle school students (ages 11-14). Preliminary work for this study included two smaller focus groups of students (N = 12; N = 12) who initially identified questions for and offered feedback about how to conduct two additional focus groups (N = 35; N = 10) two months later. This second set of focus groups was comprised of different students who answered the questions generated by students in the initial groups. The questions focused on what makes middle school students feel good and bad about their bodies at home, school, and in the broader culture. A grounded theory approach using the constant comparative method is being used to analyze the transcripts of the second set of focus groups and to construct codes signifying student's subjective experiences of their bodies and the various factors that promote positive and negative body image. Study findings will inform phase II of the project wherein the researcher will be working with middle school personnel, students, and parents to identify a joint project they can engage in to foster positive body image.

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