Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Suzanne E. Mazzeo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jessica LaRose, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robin Everhart, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Patricia Kinser, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, RN, FNAP, FAAN


Undergraduate women of all racial and ethnic groups engage in disordered eating behaviors (DEBs) at alarming rates. Most women do not receive treatment, with the largest disparities observed in women of color and those at higher weights. Prevailing interventions have limitations that could exacerbate these disparities, such as an emphasis on the thin ideal, which is often considered less relevant for some women of color. This is concerning, as disordered eating is often chronic and symptom crossover is common. Thus, a transdiagnostic, inclusive secondary prevention approach could enhance outcomes by addressing the spectrum of DEBs in diverse women. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week intuitive eating (IE) intervention delivered through group and guided self-help (GSH) modalities, approaches more accessible and affordable than individual therapy. Assessments occurred at pre-test, post-test, and two-month follow-up. Racially/ethnically diverse women (N=71; n=40) or GSH (n=31). Both conditions demonstrated feasibility, though pretreatment attrition in group was common (n=12), leading to superior retention in GSH. Over 90% of those attending one session across conditions were retained through post-test. Both conditions were acceptable, with high satisfaction across participants and leaders. Finally, women in both conditions manifested significant reductions in DEBs, body dissatisfaction, and weight-bias internalization, and increases in body appreciation, intuitive eating, and satisfaction with life at post-test that were maintained at follow-up. Moreover, improvements in IE mediated decreases in DEBs over time. Thus, results of this pilot are promising, and support the development of a larger randomized controlled trial. Avenues for future research include examining a hybrid group and GSH intervention, and evaluating a brief versus extended (i.e., 10-session) intervention.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission