Hannah J. Goehner, Psy.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Katherine Evarts, PsyD, Committee Chair
  • Shannon McIntyre, PhD, Committee Member
  • Roger Peterson, PhD, ABPP, Committee Member


body appreciation, weight-neutral, Health at Every Size, higher-weight women, body image treatment

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Body dissatisfaction is a critical risk factor for well-being; however, it can be considered normative in women. Body dissatisfaction is exceptionally high for women in larger bodies (Murnen, 2011). Due to body dissatisfaction’s prevalence and risk, mental health providers must assist higher-weight women in developing body appreciation. This qualitative study aims to comprehend how weight-neutral treatments promote body appreciation among higher-weight women. Utilizing a feminist and positive psychology framework, the study explored how higher-weight women developed body appreciation, how weight-neutral treatment promoted this development, and what outside factors assisted their progression. Comparison analysis between the weight-neutral and weight-focused samples was completed to compare body appreciation trajectories and treatment factors. Nine higher-weight women participated in semi-structured interviews. Six women were in the weight-neutral treatment sample. With use of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, 11 global themes were extracted from the weight-neutral group’s experience. Themes captured body image development, weight bias effects on well-being, treatment experiences, treatment and outside factors that promoted body appreciation, and the impact of developing body appreciation. Nine themes emerged out of the weight-focused data. Implications for clinical practice and training, as well as future research, are discussed.


Hannah J. Goehner

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0008-8702-7623