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Jessica Alleva

Assistant Professor



  • - Body image
  • - Cognitive processes and biases
  • - Interventions, treatment


My research is about body image – the thoughts and feelings that we have about our body, including its physical appearance and functionality. Specifically, my research focuses on investigating theory-based techniques to help people to feel more positively about their body. Developing a more positive body image is important, because it can contribute to greater physical and psychological well-being.


I am the coordinator of the track Mind Your Body (of the course Discover Psychology, Bachelor of Psychology). Mind Your Body focuses on key questions in body image research, such as “How do media affect our body image?” and, “How can body image be improved?”

I am also the coordinator of Self-Regulation (Master of Health and Social Psychology) and Social Psychology (university College Maastricht).

I am/have been a PBL tutor for the following courses:

  • Discover Psychology (Track: Mind Your Body)
  • Social Psychology (University College Maastricht)
  • Self-Regulation
  • Research: How to do it
  • Writing Skills
  • Observation Skills
  • Sexuality

I also supervise bachelor and master students with regard to their theses and research projects on various topics related to my research (e.g., body image, media influence, sexual objectification, cognitive processes, eating disorders).

International publications

Alleva, J. M., & Martijn, C. (2019). Body functionality. In T. L. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Beyond negative body image to positive embodiment: Constructs, protective factors, models, and interventions (pp. 33-41). New York: Guilford Press.

Atkinson, M. J., Stock, N. M., Clarke, A., Jankowski, G., Piran, N., Riley, S., Calogero, R., Alleva, J. M., Rumsey, N., Diedrichs, P. C., Slater, A., & Williamson, H. (2018). Looking to the future: Priorities for the field of appearance and body image research and practice in the next five years. Body Image, 32, 53-61.

Alleva, J. M., Holmqvist Gattario, K., Martijn, C., & Lunde, C. (2018). What can my body do vs. how does it look? Young women and men’s descriptions of their body functionality or physical appearance. Body Image, 31, 71-80.

Veldhuis, J., Alleva, J. M., Keijer, M. G., & Konijn, E. A. (2018). Me, my selfie, and I: The relations between selfie-behaviours, body image, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

Alleva, J. M., Paraskeva, N., Craddock, N., & Diedrichs, P. C. (2018). Body appreciation in British men: Correlates and variation across sexual orientation. Body Image, 27, 169-178.

Alleva, J. M., & Tylka, T. L. (2018). Muttarak’s study design cannot support the link between the body-positive movement and overweight/obesity. Obesity, 26, 1527-1527.

Alleva, J. M., Diedrichs, P. C., Halliwell, E., Peters, M. L., Dures, E., Stuijfzand, B. G., & Rumsey, N. (2018). More than my RA: Improving body image in women with rheumatoid arthritis using a functionality-focused intervention programme. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86, 666-676.

bij de Vaate, A., J., D., Veldhuis, J., Alleva, J. M., Konijn, E. A., & van Hugten, C. H. M. (2018). Show your best self(ie): An exploratory study on selfie-related motivations and behavior in emerging adulthood. Telematics and Informatics, 35, 1392-1407.

Alleva, J. M., Diedrichs, P. C., Halliwell, E., Stuijfzand, B. G., Treneman-Evans, G., & Rumsey, N. (2018). A randomised-controlled trial investigating potential underlying mechanisms of a functionality-based approach to improving women’s body image. Body Image, 25, 85-96.

Karos, K., Alleva, J. M., & Peters, M. L. (2018). Pain, please: An investigation of sampling bias in pain research. The Journal of Pain, 19, 787-796.

Alleva, J. M., Stuijfzand, B. G., & Martijn, C. (2018). Diminishing covariation bias in women with a negative body evaluation and the potential roles of outcome aversiveness and interpretation of social feedback. Body Image, 24, 62-68.

Alleva, J. M., Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2017). The Functionality Appreciation Scale (FAS): Development and psychometric evaluation in U.S. community women and men. Body Image, 23, 28-44.

Alleva, J. M. (2017). Shapeshifting: Focusing on body functionality rather than physical appearance to improve body image. Journal of Aesthetic Nursing, 6, 300-301.

Alleva, J. M. , Martijn, C., Veldhuis, J., & Tylka, T. L. (2016). A Dutch translation and validation of the Body Appreciation Scale-2: An investigation with university women in the Netherlands. Body Image, 19, 44-48.

Alleva, J. M., Veldhuis, J., & Martijn, C. (2016). A pilot study investigating whether focusing on body functionality can protect women from the potential negative effects of viewing thin-ideal media images. Body Image, 17, 10-13.

Alleva, J.M., , Martijn, C., & Jansen, A. (2016). Covariation bias in women with a negative body evaluation: How it is expressed and can it be diminished? Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 50, 33-39.

Alleva, J. M. , Sheeran, P., Webb, T. L., Martijn, C., & Miles, E. (2015). A meta-analytic review of interventions designed to improve body image. PLoS ONE, 10, e0139177.

Alleva, J. M. , Martijn, C., van Breukelen, G. J. P., Jansen, A., & Karos, K. (2015). Expand Your Horizon: A programme that improves body image and reduces self-objectification by training women to focus on body functionality. Body Image, 15 , 81-89.

Aspen, V., Martijn, C. , Alleva, J. M., Nagel, J., Perret, C., Purvis, C., Saekow, J., Lock, J., & Taylor, C. B. (2015). Decreasing body dissatisfaction using a brief conditioning intervention. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 69 , 93-99.

Martijn, C., Alleva, J. M. , & Jansen, A. (2015). Improving body satisfaction: Do strategies targeting the automatic system work? European Psychologist, 20 , 62-71.

Alleva, J. M., Lange, W-G., Jansen, A., & Martijn, C. (2014). Seeing ghosts: Negative body evaluation predicts overestimation of negative social feedback. Body Image, 11 , 228-232.

Alleva, J. M., Martijn, C., Jansen, A., & Nederkoorn, C. (2014). Body language: Affecting body satisfaction by describing the body in functionality terms. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38 , 181-196.

Alleva, J., Roelofs, J., Voncken, M., Meevissen, Y., & Alberts, H. (2014). On the relation between mindfulness and depressive symptoms: Rumination as a possible mediator. Mindfulness, 5 , 72-79.

Alleva, J., Jansen, A., Martijn, C., Schepers, J., & Nederkoorn, C. (2013). Get your own mirror: Investigating how strict eating disordered women are in judging the bodies of other eating disordered women. Appetite, 68 , 98-104.

Dutch publications

Alleva, J. M. , Schyns, G., & Martijn, C. (2014). Positief lichaamsbeeld: Wat betekent het werken aan een positief lichaamsbeeld voor de therapeut en de cliënt? [Positive body image: What can working on positive body image mean for client and therapist?]. Directieve Therapie, 34 , 250-256.

Alleva, J. M. (2014). Lichaam is meer dan uiterlijk: Het belang van lichaamsfunctionaliteit [The body is more than its appearance: The importance of body functionality]. De Psycholoog, 49 , 50-57.

Martijn, C., Alleva, J., & Jansen, A. (2012). “Help, Ik ben zo lelijk!” Nieuwe interventies om tevredenheid met eigen uiterlijk te vergroten [“Help! I’m so ugly!” New interventions to improve body satisfaction]. De Psycholoog, 47 , 10-18.

van Impelen, A., Niesten, I. J. M., Peters, M. J. V., Jelicic, M., Alleva, J., & Merckelbach, H. (2014). Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test (M-FAST): Official Dutch translation. Unpublished instrument.