Body Exposure, its Forms of Delivery and Potentially Associated Working Mechanisms: How to Move the Field Forward


  • Andrea S. Hartmann Orcid
  • Eva Naumann
  • Silja Vocks Orcid
  • Jennifer Svaldi
  • Jessica Werthmann Orcid


Background: Body image disturbance (BID) is a hallmark feature of eating disorders (EDs) and has proven to be involved in their etiology and maintenance. Therefore, the targeting of BID in treatment is crucial, and has been incorporated in various treatment manuals. One of the most common techniques in the treatment of BID is body exposure (BE), the confrontation with one’s own body. BE has been found to be effective in individuals with EDs or high body dissatisfaction. However, BE is applied in a multitude of ways, most of which are based on one or a combination of the hypothesized underlying working mechanisms, with no differential effectiveness known so far. Method: The aim of this paper is to selectively review the main hypothesized working mechanisms of BE and their translation into therapeutic approaches. Results and Conclusion: Specifically, we underline that studies are needed to pinpoint the proposed mechanisms and to develop an empirically informed theoretical model of BE. We provide a framework for future studies in order to identify working mechanisms and increase effectiveness of BE.