Is body appreciation a mechanism of depression and anxiety? An investigation of the 3-Dimensional Body Appreciation Mapping (3D-BAM) interventionedit
Body appreciation is related to numerous mental health outcomes, including depression and anxiety. This pilot study investigated the effects of an intervention, 3-Dimensional Body Appreciation Mapping (3D-BAM), developed to improve body image, depression, and anxiety by using 3D scanning technology to train participants to focus on ways they appreciate their bodies. Eighty-nine emerging adult women (Mage = 20.64) participated in the intervention and completed body image and mental health measures at baseline, pre/post-intervention, and 3-month follow up. For the intervention, participants digitally “painted” body parts of their personalized 3D avatar that they believed lived up to the cultural image of women, and that they appreciated for their appearance, utility, and role in interpersonal relationships. Following the intervention, participants reported increased body appreciation over time. Depression and anxiety decreased, but the reduction cannot be attributed to the intervention. However, body appreciation had a significant negative effect on depression and anxiety. These preliminary findings illustrate how utilizing 3D scanning technology to focus on body appreciation can improve body image among emerging adult women and reduce pathology.